British Press: England's 'lowest moment' (+ photos)

Britain's newspapers were united today in saying justice was served with New Zealand's unlikely final ball victory in the fourth One Day International against England at The Oval.

There was general condemnation of England captain Paul Collingwood's refusal to recall Black Caps batsman Grant Elliot, after he was runout following a mid-pitch collision with English bowler Ryan Sidebottom.

Writing in the Telegraph, former England international Derek Pringle called the incident "one of English cricket's lowest moments since Mike Atherton's soil-in-the-pocket incident 14 years ago".

The Times called the match "a moral victory for New Zealand", saying England were ultimately beaten "by pressure of Collingwood's making".

Also writing in The Times, former England captain Atherton said: "England lost the match, but, more important, a good deal of self-respect in that moment."

He added it was clear Elliot would have safely made his ground had it not been for the collision.

Former England captain Nasser Hussain told the paper: "There is something not right about it.

A captain is responsible for making sure that the game is played in the best possible spirit."

The Guardian commended Collingwood for his post-match apology, but said it didn't absolve him of a poor decision: "Neither of the colliding pair was at fault and as such sportsmanship - the spirit of cricket - ought to have prevailed.

"That it did not (and the captain's assertion that it was a split-second decision holds little water given the time spent in treating Elliott) does little credit to the way in which the game is heading."

Former England seamer Angus Fraser, writing for the The Independent said: "Further unwelcome behaviour from the hosts marred another extraordinary encounter."

He went on to say: "England were completely wrong to act as they did and the celebrations that followed the subsequent dismissal of Tim Southee, who was run out too, highlighted how out of touch with reality players can become as they desperately chase success."

He also quoted former New Zealand wicketkeeper Ian Smith as saying the New Zealand team "was as angry as any New Zealand side since Trevor Chappell, under the orders of his brother, Greg, bowled an underarm delivery at the Melbourne Cricket Ground with six needed off the last delivery of the game."

Australia's SMH.com.au used with the headline,'Bodyline II: NZ snub England', and also focused on Smith's comments, this time during his commentary of the match on Sky Sport: "If there has been good feeling between these two sides, it's gone. It's gone in that moment. And unfortunately, Paul Collingwood has to live with it. And that is a horrible thing when you've been such a fighting cricketer, a really good cricketer for his country. He'll have to live with that for a long time."

All the cricket writers agreed the situation could only have been made worse - had England won.

- NZ HERALD STAFF

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