Tufnell completes easy win: Cricket

NZ Select XI 138 & 176 England 427-8 dec England win by an innings & 113 runs
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England's winter woes are slowly being put behind them in New Zealand, with Phil Tufnell taking 5 for 58 to spearhead a convincing innings and 113-run victory against the New Zealand Select XI here yesterday.

Yorkshire's 21-year old pace bowler, Chris Silverwood, also staked a big claim for a place in next week's first Test. The New Zealand coach, Steve Rixon, admitted afterwards that he was the one with the headaches.

English spirits were also lifted by the sight of their wicketkeeper Jack Russell, fielding in place of flu victim Craig White, making a run out from cover.

The Select XI were finally dismissed for 176 an hour after lunch, with the end being delayed only by some lusty late hitting from Danny Morrison.

Silverwood's 3 for 29, from three impressive spells, looks to have put him ahead of the disappointing Andy Caddick in the Test stakes, while Tufnell's continued success on what is seen to be a rehabilitation tour could leave England's selectors with a tricky choice between him and Robert Croft in Auckland.

England leave Palmerston North for Hamilton, for a final Test warm-up four-day match against Northern Districts, with their confidence high following what their coach David Lloyd described as "a very professional, aggressive performance".

Russell will not play against Northern Districts - he is travelling to Auckland to gain some alternative match practice by turning out for a club side, Takapuna, tomorrow.

"This result has not helped me very much," Rixon said. "Despite what happened in Zimbabwe, this England side is full of dangerous players and they are far better prepared than us at the moment for Test cricket."

Rixon has organised a one-innings, two-day match against Auckland next Monday and Tuesday in a late attempt to get his national squad into some sort of shape for the first Test. Most of New Zealand's leading players have played no first-class matches since returning from their tour of Pakistan in early December.

The Select XI resumed yesterday on 25 for 1, still 264 runs in arrears. Silverwood struck the initial blow in the sixth over by having Adam Parore caught at the wicket. Matthew Horne fell to Nick Knight at silly point, the ball flying off a leading edge as Horne tried to flick Tufnell to leg. At 75 for 3 came Russell's sprint, pick-up and direct hit to run out Mark Greatbatch for 10. Silverwood returned to have Justin Vaughan smartly held low to his left at second slip by Knight and then Tufnell teased out the lower order.