Sunday 15 June 2008 

Pietersen Century Sets Up Comprehensive England Win

England showed more encouraging signs in the One Day game as they beat New Zealand by 114 runs in the opening International at Chester-le-Street.

Kevin Pietersen scored a fine century, sharing substantial stands with Paul Collingwood (64) and Owais Shah (49) after England were asked to bat first, and once they had posted 307 for five, they bowled New Zealand out for 193 in the 43rd over, Collingwood taking four for 15.

Their openers Ian Bell and Luke Wright got their side off to an excellent start, adding 49 for the first wicket before Wright was caught by Daniel Vettori off of Michael Mason for 11. In that time, Bell had already struck four fours and one six, putting a woeful Test series behind him.

He added one more four before he was run out by Ross Taylor for 46, leaving England on 84 for two after 20 overs.

That brought Pietersen and Collingwood to the crease and they upped the ante, putting on 137 runs for the second wicket with Pietersen passing 6,000 runs in List A cricket prior to registering his sixth ODI century from 104 deliveries.

Collingwood, another man in poor form in the longer game, welcomed a return to his home ground and hit two sixes and four fours in his knock to give Pietersen good support. He was bowled via an inside edge by Vettori.

Ravi Bopara (four) was caught and bowled without making much impression but with Owais Shah in belligerent mood, bringing up a half-century partnership with Pietersen from just 29 balls, England were not inconvenienced.

Pietersen remained unbeaten on 110, having hit the New Zealanders for eight fours and three sixes, two of which were left-handed sweeps, Shah helping himself to three sixes and four fours in the latter stages as only Vettori, by returning one for 38 from his ten overs, survived England's onslaught.

Shah fell to the penultimate delivery of the innings, caught by Jamie How trying another big hit off of Tim Southee with Tim Ambrose dutifully picking up a single from the first ball he faced in One Day International cricket.

New Zealand made a bright start, Brendon McCullum (36) and Jamie How (20) sharing a 52-run stand for the opening wicket before McCullum was caught at extra cover by Bell off of Stuart Broad.

That was as good as it got for New Zealand, with Broad reaping the rewards for an excellent early spell when he had How dismissed in similar manner, Wright the catcher.

In between, James Marshall was run out by a Collingwood direct hit and thereafter New Zealand were always playing catch up with a climbing run rate.

Ross Taylor (20), Scott Styris (19) and Gareth Hopkins (25) all got starts but could not go on while Daniel Flynn looked impressive once again before he was unluckily given out caught behind off of Graeme Swann when the ball hit his thigh pad.

He had to go for 34, having shared in a stand of 49 with Hopkins, and with him went any remaining chances the tourists had.

Collingwood brought himself on to clean up the tail which he did with remarkable effect, sending back Hopkins, Vettori (eight), Kyle Mills (seven) and Southee (six) to complete an excellent all-round match for him but also an efficient and ruthless all-round performance from his team.

England made one change from the side that beat New Zealand by nine wickets in the Twenty20 International two days ago, Ryan Sidebottom playing in place of Dimitri Mascarenhas.

New Zealand welcomed back Southee at the expense of Mark Gillespie while Gareth Hopkins takes the gloves, meaning Peter Fulton once again missed out.

John Pennington
© Cricket World 2008