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KP saves England’s blushes at Napier

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England’s star batsman Kevin Pietersen finally came good with his first century in 11 innings but the tourists were down and out on the opening day of the third and final test at Napier. England struggled to get to 240 for 7 at the McLean Park in what is the deciding match of the series having elected to bat first.

England were rocked in the first session by a 19-year-old debutant by the name Tim Southee! The rookie medium pacer got rid of Michael Vaughan and Andrew Strauss cheaply while his partner Chris Martin made the score 4/3 in the 7th over by sending back opener Alastair Cook. After that triple blow, the visitors tried to resurrect things through Pietersen and Bell by a cautious approach. The next damage was done by another debutant, Grant Elliott, the new all rounder. Bell’s scratchy innings was ended by Elliott and with that England slipped into further trouble at 36 for 4.

The visitors would have so easily been bowled out on the opening day itself but for the two good partnerships that involved KP. First Pietersen got an 89-run stand with One Day Captain Paul Collingwood (30) and then 61 for the 7th wicket with Stuart Broad, who is unbeaten on 41. New Zealand had a perfect finish to the day when the second new ball did the trick in ending Kevin Pietersen’s fighting knock of 129 (from 208 balls with 12 fours and a six). This was KP’s 11th Test hundred. It was again the young Tim Southee giving the breakthrough to end a fantastic first day of his international career with figures of 3 for 46. Spinner Jeetan Patel chipped in with a couple of wickets that of Collingwood and Ambrose. Earlier, New Zealand were forced to go into the match without all rounder Jacob Oram and Kyle Mills who are out with injuries.