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New Zealand secure innings victory as England pay for first-day collapse

Fifties from Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes were not enough as New Zealand claimed the first Test against England by an innings and 49 runs.

NEWS
26 Mar 2018, 12:50 IST
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NeilWagner - Cropped
Neil Wagner celebrates the wicket of Ben Stokes

Neil Wagner took the key wickets of Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes as New Zealand wrapped up victory over England by an innings and 49 runs on day five in Auckland.

Having sensationally dismissed the tourists for just 58 on the opening day of the first Test, heavy rain on days two and three had threatened to derail the Black Caps' charge towards a 1-0 lead in the two-match series.

England resumed on 132-3 on Monday, hoping for a repeat of their fifth-day heroics at the same venue exactly five years ago, yet despite the best efforts of Stokes and Woakes, their first-innings capitulation left them with too great of a mountain to scale.

Stokes (66) and Woakes (52) batted for almost the entire middle session to frustrate New Zealand, but the former's dismissal at the hands of the tireless Wagner gave the home side renewed energy following the dinner break.

Wagner finished with 3-77 from 32 hostile overs, while Todd Astle's 3-39 added to the earlier fine work of Trent Boult (3-67) as Kane Williamson's side ensured they cannot be beaten in the series ahead of the second instalment, which begins in Christchurch on Friday.

Although only batting for a draw, Stokes started in positive fashion by clipping Boult for four from the first ball, but he soon lost partner Dawid Malan (23), who poked at Tim Southee (1-86) and edged to second slip.

Jonny Bairstow (26) enjoyed some good fortune, dropped down the leg side by BJ Watling before he had scored and again on 21 as Boult put down a sitter at mid-on following an Astle long-hop.

His luck ran out two overs later, though, as he pulled another short ball from the same bowler to Williamson at midwicket.

The Black Caps struck just before tea, Williamson making good use of DRS to see Moeen Ali (28) trapped in front by Boult, but after the resumption Stokes and Woakes gave England a measure of hope.

Stokes' fifty arrived from 128 balls as he and Woakes shared a stand of 83 that ate up more than 30 overs but once again the final over of the session produced a wicket as Stokes lifted Wagner to deep backward point, where a retreating Southee took a fine catch.

Craig Overton was England's sole shining light in the first innings but he perished for just three, lbw to Astle, before Woakes' fifty arrived from 109 deliveries with a single to long-on.

His vigil was ended by Wagner, however, as he fended a snorter of a bouncer to short-leg and triumph was assured when James Anderson lofted Astle to mid-on from the next over.

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