England stumble, NZ on top

Dunedin: England's powerful batting line-up was skittled for just 167 by New Zealand on Thursday as the unfancied Black Caps took a firm grip on the opening Test in Dunedin.

England's batsmen self-destructed in two nightmare sessions on a tame pitch, offering a succession of rash shots in the face of disciplined bowling from debutant Bruce Martin and Neil Wagner, who each bagged four wickets each.

In reply, New Zealand made the most of batting-friendly conditions at University Oval to plunder 131 runs without loss at stumps, with Hamish Rutherford, also making his debut, unbeaten on 77 and Peter Fulton 46 not out.

After the first day's play was abandoned due to bad weather, England lasted just 55 overs against the eighth-ranked team in Test cricket, Jonathan Trott top-scoring with 45 on a day when the visitors' big names failed to fire.

Tim Southee grabbed an early breakthrough to dismiss Nick Compton for a duck in the third over, putting pressure on the opener, who faces calls for Joe Root to take his spot at the top of the order.

Left-arm paceman Wagner, a late inclusion in the New Zealand side after an injury to Doug Bracewell, then claimed the wickets of Alastair Cook (10) and Pietersen (0) in successive balls to leave England reeling at 18 for three.

Pietersen, short of cricket after playing only one warm-up match for meagre returns of 14 and eight, was trapped lbw by Wagner off his first ball at the crease.

Ian Bell and Trott dug in for a partnership of 46 before Bell fell for 24

(Agencies)

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