Angus Fraser: England stumble to a thrashing

New Zealand v England, First Test, Day 5, Hamilton
Click to follow

England fell to a humiliating 189-run defeat on the final day of the first Test after being bowled out in just 55 overs for 110 in their second innings.

Michael Vaughan's under-achieving side deserved little more from a match in which they have been completely outplayed by a better side. The result leaves England 1-0 down in the series and needing to win the final two Tests if they are to gain their first away Test series triumph in three years.

New Zealand's bowlers made short work of England's fragile batting line-up after declaring their second innings closed on 177-9. Batting for only seven overs was a positive statement by Daniel Vettori, the Black Caps captain, who left England needing 300 in 81 overs to claim an unexpected, and some would say undeserved victory.

Kyle Mills was the New Zealand hero, ripping out England's top order in a devastating seven-over spell of new ball bowling. Mills is not fast nor does he do a great deal with the ball but he was aggressive and accurate, and fully deserved his figures of 4-9. Chris Martin, who bowled superbly too, claimed three quick wickets after lunch and it was left to Jacob Oram to seal New Zealand's eighth ever victory over England, when he forced Monty Panesar to edge a drive through to Brendon Mccullum, the wicket-keeper.

Ian Bell was the only England batsman to put up a fight, scoring an unbeaten 54 as his partners came and went. Panesar was the only batsman to give him any support and the pair's tenth wicket partnership of 33 was the highest of England's abject innings.

The day began with all four results still a possibility. There was always a chance that it would peter out in to a tame draw but Vettori signified his sides intentions in the second over of the day when he slog/swept Panesar over the leg-side for two boundaries. Vettori continued to bat positively before, on 35, he chipped a simple catch to extra cover.

The wicket gave Ryan Sidebottom his tenth of the match and his bowling, along with the team's catching, was one of the only positives for England to take from the game. New Zealand added four more runs to their total before setting England a challenging but gettable target.

England's run chase began quickly but unconvincingly as four boundaries were edged fine of the wicket, but New Zealand were happy to trade the fours for an early wicket and that came when Alastair Cook wafted horribly at a length ball from Mills and edged a simple catch through to McCullum.

Vaughan was the next to go when he played round a straight ball from Mills, and Andrew Strauss soon followed when he edged a good ball through to McCullum, who took an excellent diving catch to his left. Martin was bowling equally well, especially to Kevin Pietersen, who he gave a torrid time. In one over he made England's best batsman look like a novice.

The over disorientated Pietersen and it was Mills who capitalised when the batsman padded up to a ball that came back in to him and he was adjudged lbw. The decision was tight but when a batsman fails to play a shot he loses the benefit of the doubt. Pietersen 's dismissal left England's innings in tatters on 30-4. Any hope of victory had gone; a draw was now the best England could wish for.

Bell and Paul Collingwood took the team to lunch but batting became no easier after the interval. It took Collingwood 33 balls and 49 minutes to get off the mark and he was never comfortable. It therefore came as little surprise when Vettori dismissed him. The Black Caps spinner had had two strong lbw appeals turned down earlier in the over and in an attempt to break the shackles Collingwood tried to cut a ball that was not short enough, only succeeding in bottom edging it on to his off-stump.

In the next over the game was over. Martin produced a beauty to bowl Tim Ambrose and Sidebottom edged a nervous push at the same bowler through to the wicket-keeper. With England on 60-7 there were genuine fears that they would not pass 64, their previous lowest score against New Zealand, achieved in Wellington in 1978.

Matthew Hoggard tried hard before edging a waft through to McCullum and Stephen Harmison completed a miserable Test match for himself by edging Jeetan Patel to Stephen Fleming at slip. Could this be Harmison's last moment in an England shirt?

Bell opted to play a few shots, and why not he had nothing to lose - the match had gone. Patel was struck back over his head for two sixes, the second of which took Bell to 50 and England past 100. But the pair's fun ended on the final ball of the 55th over when a determined Panesar perished.

New Zealand celebrated, and rightly so. This was an almost faultless performance by Vettori's side. England's was at the other end of the scale and they will travel to Wellington for the second Test, which starts on Thursday, with plenty to think about.

Comments