New Zealand yesterday atoned for one of their most frustrating failures when they beat England by an innings and 49 runs in the Test to land the first blow in the two-match series.
The hosts bowled out England for 320 in the final session, after leading by 369 runs on first innings and after England started the final day with a 267-run deficit and seven wickets in hand.
Trent Boult took 3-67 and claimed match figures of 9-99 after taking 6-32 in the first innings when New Zealand set up their victory by bowling out England for 58 in 95 minutes.
Neil Wagner bowled 32 overs in the second innings innings, making a number of vital breakthroughs and finishing with 3-77, and leg-spinner Todd Astle quadrupled his tally of Test wickets when he took 3-39, including the final wicket to fall when James Anderson holed out to Boult in the 127th over.
Half-centuries by Mark Stoneman (55) and captain Joe Root (51) allowed England to start the final day at 132-3, evoking memories of the corresponding Test in 2013.
On that occasion, England started the final day with six wickets in hand and batted through the day to save a draw with just one wicket standing.
Memories of that 2013 match surfaced when all-rounder Ben Stokes batted throughout the first two sessions to make 66, his 13th Test half-century, before falling to the final ball of the second session.
Then Chris Woakes took over and made 52 before being the penultimate wicket to fall.
“It was a fantastic performance,” New Zealand captain Kane Williamson said. “If you go back to that first England innings... that was a great start for us. We knew we were going to have to work hard against a quality England side in terms of their bowling attack and taking wickets in the second innings, which they showed was very difficult to do.”
England batted defiantly on the final day, but were unable to overcome their poor start to the match.
“We weren’t good enough, simple as that,” England skipper Root said. “We have to learn some lessons quickly. More than anything we have to make sure we adapt quicker. We knew it might swing and seam around, and we didn’t cope with it very well.”
S AFRICA V AUSTRALIA
Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland was yesterday rushing to South Africa with the sport facing one of the toughest weeks in its history as a backlash grows over a ball-tampering scandal which is likely to cost Steve Smith the Test captaincy.
Sponsors expressed “deep concern” as media and fans called for widespread changes and decisive action following the shock admission that Smith and senior players plotted to cheat.
Smith on Sunday was removed from the captaincy for the remainder of the third Test against South Africa and was banned for one match.
His team’s weekend of shame then ended in a crushing 322-run rout. Set an unlikely 430 to win, Australia were bowled out for a paltry 107.
Sutherland is facing mounting pressure to take responsibility for what the Australian media has criticized as a “rotten” team culture.
“We know Australians want answers and we will keep you updated on our findings and next steps, as a matter of urgency,” Sutherland said.
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Growing concern over health standards in e-sports has prompted a new federation to pledge to address the problem, as players fall victim to conditions ranging from wrist injuries to obesity, stress and diabetes. The retirement of top Chinese player Jian Zihao, better known by his gaming handle “Uzi,” sent tremors through the booming sport, whose revenues are predicted to reach US$1.1 billion this year, according to industry analyst Newzoo. The 23-year-old, hailed as an “icon” of the League of Legends game, stepped away from e-sports in June, saying that “chronic stress, obesity, irregular diet, staying up late and other reasons” had given