New Zealand beats England by an innings and 65 runs
MOUNT MAUNGANUI, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand christened its newest test venue with an innings and 65-run win over England in the first cricket test to take a 1-0 lead in the two-match series.
England's battle for survival on Monday proved futile as Bay Oval — New Zealand's ninth test venue — provided hostile conditions on the final day, and the tourists were bowled out for 197 after trailing by 262 runs on the first innings.
With the ball either scuttling through low or spitting off a length, the England batsmen were unable to see out the fifth day as they had done in similar circumstances in New Zealand six years ago. Neil Wagner took 5-44 — the last five wickets to fall — as England's final wicket went down an hour after tea.
England produced only patchy resistance in its second innings. Joe Denly made 35, Rory Burns 31 and Sam Curran and Jofra Archer shared a 59 run partnership for the ninth wicket which meant New Zealand had to sweat on its win until the 97th over.
Wagner broke the partnership when he dismissed Archer for 30, then removed last man Stuart Broad with his next delivery, leaving Curran 29 not out.
The win was only New Zealand's 11th in 104 tests against England but most of those successes have been crowded into the last few years. It hasn't lost to England in the last seven tests between the teams
At the same time England has won only once in New Zealand since 2000, while New Zealand has won 11 of its last 16 tests.
England struggled throughout the match to overcome its moderate total of 353 after it batted first on winning the toss. New Zealand replied with a monstrous 615-9, built around B.J. Watling's 205 — his first double century and the highest total by a New Zealand wicketkeeper — and Mitchell Santner's 126, his maiden test century.
Santner then took three wickets to send England to stumps at 55-3 on the fourth day, leaving New Zealand to claim seven wickets for victory on Monday.
Most players will have had at the back of their minds a similar circumstance in 2013, when England came into the last day of the third test with only four wickets standing and batted all day, ending nine down.
On that occasion Stuart Broad produced the longest scoreless innings in test history. But on Monday he, and his team-mates, were unable to replicate the effort shown that day.
"I think we missed an opportunity if we're being brutally honest with ourselves and if we look at the two first innings in comparison," England captain Joe Root said. "Their guys went on to make really big contributions.
"We had a couple of guys play really well but we could have done with a couple of guys making those big scores and getting a score over 450, using that scoreboard pressure as another fielder almost."
Root was the first man out Monday. Tied down by a dense offside field he tried to work a ball behind point and was caught by Tom Latham at gully off the bowling of Colin de Grandhomme.
Tim Southee then made the breakthrough New Zealand most wanted, dismissing Ben Stokes for 28 to avoid any more of the heroics Stokes has produced in recent months, including in the World Cup final win over New Zealand.
Wagner did the rest in his 19.2 overs. He dismissed Denly, Ollie Pope and Jos Buttler in the second session, then broke the partnership between Curran and Archer, which was the last obstacle to New Zealand's success.
"It feels great to win a test match," New Zealand captain Kane Williamson said. "England are a great test side and it took a huge amount of hard to work to get past their total on a wicket that was wearing.
"A huge amount of heart from that middle order batting unit to get us past the 600 mark was really our only opportunity to win. To bat for 200 overs was an outstanding effort."
More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports