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New Zealand's Vettori outwits England for crushing win

New Zealand thrashed England by 189 runs in the first cricket Test on Sunday when England's second innings disintegrated after Kyle Mills ripped through the top order.
AFP | By HT Correspondent, Hamilton
UPDATED ON MAR 09, 2008 11:44 AM IST

New Zealand thrashed England by 189 runs in the first cricket Test on Sunday when England's second innings disintegrated after Kyle Mills ripped through the top order.

Set a tempting target of 300 to win in 81 overs, England were all out for 110 with 26 overs and a full session of play remaining.

Ian Bell top scored with an unbeaten 54, one of only two batsmen to reach double figures on a slow wicket.

Mills finished with the remarkable figures of four for 16 off 13 overs while Chris Martin took three for 33 as New Zealand pulled off just their eighth victory over England in 88 Tests.

It was a performance engineered by New Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori, the man of the match, who dictated the terms from the time he won the toss and elected to bat.

He produced innings of 88 and 35 with the bat, and, bowling in tandem with Jeetan Patel, he reduced England's scoring to a crawl in the first innings.

He then lured England into chasing a result with a timely second innings declaration, which he said was made against the wishes of coach John Bracewell.

"Braces (Bracewell) wanted to keep batting but I just yanked them in. It was a good feeling. It sent a nice message that we wanted to be out there and we thought we were on top and by declaring you send that message," Vettori said.

"When Kyle stepped up with four wickets, their top four, taking them out of play meant the game was ours."

New Zealand added 30 runs to their overnight 147 before Vettori threw down the gauntlet at 177 for nine.

It was a challenge readily accepted as Alastair Cook reeled off three quick boundaries and England raced to 18 off the first three overs, well ahead of the required 3.7 run rate.

But four wickets in four overs from Mills put New Zealand firmly in command and the inevitable end for England came just before the tea break.

"The batting from our side was obviously not acceptable but New Zealand put us under a lot of pressure and bowled excellently," said England captain Michael Vaughan who believed the declaration had given England a chance.

"We felt 300, if we'd got a good start, if we'd got to 100 for one, then the overs weren't going to have much relevance because if we kept wickets in hand we could possibly have had a go at that.

"But when you lose four quick wickets to an outstanding new ball spell by Kyle Mills it was always going to be difficult."

Cook was first to fall to Mills, chasing a wide delivery and edging the ball to Brendon McCullum behind the stumps to be back in the pavillion for 13.

Two overs later England captain Michael Vaughan followed for nine, trapped in front of the wickets, and Andrew Strauss scored two before he was caught by McCullum.

With England's hopes resting on Kevin Pietersen, the marque player surprisingly failed to offer a shot to a Mills delivery nipping back and the umpire had no option but to give him out for six.

The capitulation ended England's hope of pulling off a win, leaving Bell and Paul Collingwood to set up a dogged defence in an attempt to make the innings last through the final two sessions.

Collingwood survived 50 balls for just two runs before he was bowled by Vettori and then Martin dismissed Tim Ambrose, Ryan Sidebottom and Mathew Hoggard in quick succession to have England at 67 for eight.

While Bell remained defiant at one end, Steve Harmison added one to the total before falling to Patel and the innings ended with Monty Panesar caught behind for eight off Jacob Oram.

Panesar at least had the satisfaction of assisting Bell in a 33-run partnership, the biggest stand in the England innings.

The only New Zealand wicket to fall in the morning was Vettori, caught by Cook off Ryan Sidebottom to give the England new-ball bowler his career best figures of six for 49 including a hattrick.

It was also Sidebottom's first 10-wicket match haul after taking four for 90 in New Zealand's first innings of 470.

The second Test of the three-match series starts at Wellington's Basin Reserve on Thursday.

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