New Zealand skittle England, hunt Test win

Published: Saturday, March 8, 2008, 11:16 [IST]
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Stephen Fleming and Jamie How proved there were runs in the wicket as they lead a New Zealand charge to fashion a result in the first cricket Test against England here Saturday.

New Zealand went to tea on the fourth day at 55 for one in their second innings for an overall lead of 177 after England were all after lunch for 348.

After Mathew Bell fell on the third ball of the innings, edging Ryan Sidebottom to wicketkeeper Tim Ambrose, Fleming and How stepped up the tempo.

Fleming, who survived a leg-before shout from Paul Collingwood who then spilled a caught-and-bowled chance in the final over before tea, was unbeaten on 40 with Jamie How on 15.

Importantly, in terms of the outcome of the Test, New Zealand were batting at more than three an over as they sought to build a sizeable bank of runs before putting England in for a second time.

The increased tempo was in sharp contrast to the pedestrian performance by England who averaged just two an over on the slow wicket.

On the fourth morning, England put on a meagre 61 runs before lunch as Collingwood and Tim Ambrose batted for survival.

Collingwood did not even last to the break, being trapped in front by Jacob Oram for 66 in the only wicket of the session.

Although he looked unhappy with the decision, television replays showed the ball would have hit the top of the stumps.

It was just reward for New Zealand all-rounder Oram who, in his previous over, found the edge of Ambrose's bat but wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum was unable to hold the difficult chance.

Ambrose relished the life and had moved on to 55 at lunch for the distinction of posting a half-century in his Test debut.

But the England innings fell apart soon after the resumption when Jeetan Patel took wickets with successive balls.

Ambrose went for 55 and Harmison followed immediately, both caught by Fleming at slip. Kyle Mills wrapped up the innings with his first use of the new ball when he had Monty Panesar leg before wicket without scoring.

The last three England wickets went for the addition of only one run.

Patel finished the innings with figures of three for 107 from 43 overs while spin twin Daniel Vettori took two for 88 from 56. Mills, Chris Martin and Oram took two wickets apiece.

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