Sunday 9 March 2008 

Mills And Martin Cut England Down As New Zealand Win

New Zealand 470 (Taylor 120) & 177-9 declared (Sidebottom 6-49)
England 348 (Collingwood 66) & 110 (Bell 54no, Mills 4-16)

New Zealand won by 189 runs and lead the series 1-0

Any thoughts of an England comeback on the final day of the first Test against New Zealand in Hamilton were swiftly extinguished as they were bowled out for just 110 in pursuit of 300 to win.

New Zealand, who declared their second innings on 177 for nine, bowled England out in 55 overs to seal a 189-run win and take a 1-0 series lead.

New Zealand added 30 more runs in the morning session, captain Daniel Vettori making 35 before the declaration. Ryan Sidebottom picked up his wicket, finishing with figures of six for 49.

300 was always going to be tough for England, especially with New Zealand in great form with the ball and on a wearing pitch. And so it proved: Kyle Mills delivered a devastating opening spell, sending back Alastair Cook (13), Michael Vaughan (nine), Andrew Strauss (two) and Kevin Pietersen (six) to leave England reeling on 36 for four at lunch.

Things got little better after the interval, as despite a gutsy innings from Ian Bell, who would remain undefeated on 54, no other batsman could post a double figure score.

Tim Ambrose and Sidebottom made ducks, Steve Harmison managed one, Paul Collingwood two, Matthew Hoggard four and Monty Panesar the third highest score of eight as England got the Test series off to the worst possible start.

Mills finished with figures of four for 16, Chris Martin picked up three for 33, and Jacob Oram, man of the match Vettori and Jeetan Patel took a wicket each.

Bell's defiant innings lasted 151 balls, five of which were hit for four while he also hit two sixes. He scored over 50 percent of England's runs from the bat as New Zealand were good value for their win, having been in control of the match until a Ryan Sidebottom hat-trick on day four gave England a slim chance of victory.

That chance was then extinguished by a ruthless bowling display that leaves England forced to make the running, and more than likely forced to make changes to a line up that Sidebottom, Collingwood, Ambrose, Bell and perhaps Vaughan aside, lacked the fight required.

Mills and Martin won the game with brilliant use of the new ball, something England were unable to do all game with Hoggard and Harmison badly out of sorts and an inability by the batsmen to go on and make a telling score (as Ross Taylor had done for New Zealand, with 120 on days one and two) again hurt the visitors, leaving them with plenty to think about before the second Test begins on March 13th on Wellington.

Captain Vaughan admitted that his side had not produced the goods, telling reporters, "With the talent we have, to get bowled out for 110 is not acceptable. We hold our hands up and admit we haven't played a good game at all. There is a little bit of a lack of confidence in that dressing room and the performance shows."

"I didn't see it coming at all today, that's a slight worry, you see a positive vibe, sensing victory," he added.

"We just didn't give ourselves anywhere near the chance to take that opportunity."

As for New Zealand, it was, as captain Vettori described, a "complete" performance, as they outplayed England in all departments and took advantage of the opportunities given them.

"I think we put in a complete performance for five days," Vettori said.

"What we did was bowled well and set up a good total in the first innings. That's the way you go about winning test cricket.

"It's something we haven't done that well and to step up and do it against a very good England team and win is probably my most satisfying test win over the long time that I have played."

© Cricket World 2008

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