Kevin Pietersen’s 12th Test Match hundred rescued England from a precarious situation of 86 for 5 to a good looking 273 for 7 at stumps on the opening day of the third and final Test at Trent Bridge. New Zealand promised a lot with the ball putting England under pressure under swinging conditions. But the pair of KP and wicket keeper Tim Ambrose spoilt their party with a critical 161-run partnership that got England out of the woods.
New Zealand won the crucial toss and asked England to counter the swinging conditions first. The Kiwis replaced James Marshall with wicket keeper Gareth Hopkins and Brendon McCullum made to play as a pure batsman. For England, Alastair Cook departed early while Skipper Michael Vaughan (16) and Andrew Strauss (37 from 97 balls with 5 fours) failed to convert their starts into bigger scores. Strauss disappointingly threw his wicket away after attempting to chase a wide one. Kyle Mills and Iain O’Brien were the two wicket takers for the Kiwis as England went onto lose another two wickets in the form of Bell and Collingwood, both for ducks. And England, who one thought weren’t doing badly at 84 for 2 at lunch, collapsed to 86 for 5 in the next session.
This was when New Zealand lost their golden touch to allow a partnership grow between Kevin Pietersen and Tim Ambrose. Both batsmen by Tea steadied the ship to take the total to 180 for 5 in 59 overs. Their good show continued after Tea as well to stretch the total further while KP got to his hundred in 194 balls. England were cruising through until the second new ball reversed their fortunes with both Pietersen and Ambrose wasting their hard work with daft shots. Pietersen made 115 in total (from 223 balls with 14 fours) and Tim Ambrose got 67 (from 148 balls with 9 fours). Both got out through the combination of Iain O’Brien and wicket keeper Gareth Hopkins.
At close of first day, England got to 273 for 7 in 90 overs with Stuart Broad on 15 along with another left hander – James Anderson, who is on 1. All the damage was done by O’Brien (20-4-61-4) and Mills (24-7-58-3).