Queenstown: England’s bowlers have plenty to ponder ahead of the first Test after a New Zealand XI chased down a steep target for a three-wicket win in the tourists’ only warm-up match in Queenstown on Saturday.
Wicketkeeper BJ Watling was unbeaten on 89, with eight fours and two sixes, as the home side reached 334 for seven with eight deliveries to spare, after England declared on their overnight score of 256 for nine.
England had looked strong with their opponents reeling on 154 for five at one stage, but a sixth-wicket stand of 82 between Watling and Corey Anderson (44) stemmed the rot. Watling also found good support in left-arm paceman Neil Wagner (28 not out), who was handed a spot in the New Zealand Test squad earlier in the day, and the duo saw their team home with an unbeaten stand of 52 for the eighth wicket.
England paceman Graham Onions once again struggled, bowling five no-balls, and the batsmen took particular liking to him as he bled 82 runs off his 16 overs without any reward.
Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes and Joe Root picked up two wickets each for England while Graeme Swann took one.
New Zealand take on England in the first of the three-Test series at Dunedin’s University Oval starting on Wednesday.
Wagner also claimed six wickets.
The South Africa-born 26-year-old joins a squad of 13 for the March 6 Test in Dunedin, New Zealand Cricket said in a statement yesterday, and could earn his fourth Test cap if the hosts elect to field an all-pace attack.