England slump to defeat
New Zealand 1-0 up in the series after 189-run success at Seddon Park
By Graeme Mair. Last Updated: 09/03/08 4:48am
Mills: removed England's top four
England crashed to a 189-run defeat in the first Test against New Zealand after being bowled out for 110 in their second innings.
Daniel Vettori's declaration early on the final day set England a target of 300 from a minimum of 81 overs. At that point the tourists harboured realistic victory hopes of their own.
But New Zealand seamer Kyle Mills removed the top four during a seven-over spell with the new ball to leave England on 36-4 at lunch and facing a battle for survival during the final two sessions.
It was a task that proved far beyond them. Paul Collingwood, Tim Ambrose and Ryan Sidebottom all departed within the space of nine deliveries early in the afternoon.
And although Ian Bell resisted with 54 not out, the result was completed shortly before tea when Monty Panesar was caught behind to end a last-wicket stand of 43, the highest of a miserable effort.
Mills claimed wickets in the second, fourth, fifth and sixth overs of a superb opening spell to put New Zealand in total command.
After scoring three early boundaries, two of which were off the outside edge down to third-man, it was no surprise when Alastair Cook (13) got a thin nick through to Brendon McCullum from another flirt outside off-stump.
Cook's opening partner Michael Vaughan (9) followed in the eighth over of the innings, plumb lbw looking to work an inswinger into the leg-side.
And Mills followed up by removing Andrew Strauss and Kevin Pietersen to destroy any lingering hopes of a successful run chase.
The dismissal of Strauss (2) was similar to that of Cook, the Middlesex left-hander edging to McCullum after hanging his bat at a delivery that was angled across.
Pietersen had been roughed up at the other end by Chris Martin's short-pitched mode of attack and never appeared to settle during a 14-ball innings of six. He was undone by another Mills inswinger that clipped the front pad just outside the line of off-stump as he shouldered arms. Umpire Steve Davis had little hesitation in raising the finger to New Zealand's lbw appeal.
Bell and Collingwood survived to reach lunch at 36-4 but the early clatter of wickets meant England had swiftly readjusted their sights from forcing a win to salvaging a draw.
Three wickets in nine balls early in the afternoon sent them spinning towards an ignominious defeat. Collingwood (2), who had taken 34 deliveries to get off the mark, chopped onto his stumps off the bowling of left-arm spinner Vettori (1-16) to end a 50-ball vigil that featured just a solitary scoring stroke.
And Martin (3-33) followed up in the next over by bowling Ambrose and having Sidebottom caught behind - both for ducks - to reduce England to 60-7.
Matthew Hoggard (4) and Steve Harmison (1) did not hang around long, although Bell finally found a willing ally in last man Panesar to briefly hold up New Zealand's celebrations.
With the match long gone, Bell took the opportunity to add some pressure-free runs and brought up his 18th Test half-century from 140 balls by lofting Jeetan Patel (1-39) back over his head for the second of two sixes.
But medium pacer Oram (1-2) finished off the job for the hosts by having Panesar caught behind - McCullum's fifth catch of the innings - just before the tea interval.
Earlier, New Zealand had batted on for seven overs at the start of the day to add 30 runs to their second innings before Vettori declared at 177-9.
Vettori went on the attack, striking four boundaries, before being caught off Sidebottom's bowling for 35 attempting to hit over the off-side.
That scalp gave Sidebottom, who took a hat-trick on Saturday, figures of 6-49 and completed his first 10-wicket match haul in Tests having also taken 4-90 in the first innings.
Last-wicket pair Patel and Martin added a further four runs before being called in to leave England a target of 300.
The second Test of the three-match series begins at the Basin Reserve, Wellington on Thursday.