Wednesday, March 26, 2008

England beat New Zealand in Napier Test, win series

Monty Panesar returned test-best figures of six for 126 as England beat New Zealand by 121 runs in the third cricket test Wednesday and clinched the three-match series2-1.

Off-spinner Panesar completed his seventh five-wicket haul in tests, claiming three of the five wickets to fall on the final day, hastening New Zealand's dismissal for 431 as it chased 553 for victory.

New Zealand resumed its second innings Wednesday at 222 for five, still 330 runs behind England and lost all chance of saving the match when overnight batsmen Ross Taylor and Brendon McCullum both fell to Panesar inside the first hour.

By lunch New Zealand was 360 for nine and it took England only 31minutes in the afternoon to wrap it up.

Taylor was out for 74 and Brendon McCullum for 42 after a partnership of 104 for the fifth wicket, which delayed England's victory and briefly raised New Zealand's hopes of a draw.

New Zealand was able to further delay the end through a partnerships of 48 for the eighth wicket between Daniel Vettori (43) and Jeetan Patel (18).

Teenage fast bowler Tim Southee then pounded nine sixes and four fours in an unbeaten 77 from 40 deliveries which lifted New Zealand to 431, putting on 84 for the last wicket and ensuring the Kiwis went down with a hint of defiance.

Southee's innings incorporated the fastest half century by a New Zealander in tests, from 29 balls, and was the sixth fastest by a player from any nation in test history. He added that distinction to his haul of 5-55 in England's first innings, which made him the sixth New Zealander to take five wickets in an innings on test debut.

Panesar's best bowling performance and a bold and tireless performance by Stuart Broad ensured New Zealand was kept well short to its unrealistic winning total of 553.

New Zealand and England now meet in a three-test series in England in May and June.

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