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The Sporting Scoop: NZ Abysmal

by Ian Little, an unabashed one-eyed supporter of British sports, who writes from England.

An extraordinary test ended in an extraordinary manner as the New Zealand bowling line up literally served up England a seven wicket victory in the first test.

The result provided some cheer to English sporting fans as Tim Henman ran into the immovable object of Peter Sampras in the Wimbledon semi-finals and bowed out in four sets, ending dreams of an Englishman winning Wimbledon for yet another year. The 4th of July will now see an all-American final between Sampras and Andre Agassi.

Over at Edgbaston, fast bowler Alex Tudor, who went in as nightwatchman on Friday, batted through the day to score an unbeaten 99 against an ineffectual and wayward effort from New Zealand. A test which saw 31 wickets fall in the first two days, saw just two on the third and made Nasser Hussain the first England captain to win a Test match at the first attempt since Bob Willis' in 1982.

While Tudor managed to take only one wicket in the preceding bowlers' benefit match, he ensured that bowlers still dominated after scoring an undefeated 33 in the first innings to add to the top score for the entire match.

His job and that of the other English batsmen was made easy as the New Zealanders bowled short, wide and failed to make deliveries swing. When Geoff Allot finally got a ball on target it took Hussein's wicket, but by then the game was over.

The second test is at Lord's, beginning on July 22.

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