England suffer warm-up loss

New Zealand England

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Action and reaction from day four at Queenstown where England slipped to defeat

England suffered an unexpected defeat as BJ Watling's second half-century of the match earned a New Zealand XI victory at the Queenstown Event Centre.

Watling's 89 not out followed his unbeaten 66 in the first innings to help the hosts chase 334 and prevail in a tight finish with eight balls and three wickets to spare.

England, playing their first red-ball fixture of a double-Ashes year in this sole warm-up for the first of three Tests, in Dunedin, lost a first-class tour game for the first time in almost seven years; the last defeat came against an India Board XI in Vadodara.

Watling finished with eight fours and two sixes from 122 balls in a run-chase which featured three other individual scores between 40 and 50.

After England declared on their overnight 256 for nine, progress was initially unremarkable for both sides.

Opening batsmen Hamish Rutherford and Tom Latham began the chase with their second stand of 56 in this match, at four an over on a cloudy morning which yielded no immediate headway for Stuart Broad and Graham Onions with the new ball.

BJ Watling

BJ Watling's 89 not out takes a New Zealand XI to a surprising three-wicket victory against England at the Queenstown Event Centre today

Rutherford even climbed into an upper-cut which deposited a short ball from Broad high over point and into the enclosure in front of the players' pavilion for six.

Soon afterwards, Broad hit the same batsman on the helmet with a sharp bouncer.

It was first-change Chris Woakes who made the first breakthrough when Rutherford, on 33, cut him into the hands of point.

Woakes was rewarded for a fine spell and Broad also struck in the next over when he switched to a fuller length and bowled a static Carl Cachopa for a third-ball duck.

Onions looked a slightly more likely wicket-taker for a time, but no one could find a way past Latham or Neil Broom up to lunch.

Their stand had extended to 64 by the time Graeme Swann got Latham two short of a half-century, caught-behind as he tried to sweep.

Then, with the first ball after mid-session drinks, Broad saw off Broom for 41 lbw playing no shot.

When Dean Brownlie also went before tea, neatly caught low at second slip by Swann off the returning Woakes, the hosts were running out of frontline batsmen.

But Watling and Corey Anderson, who had starred in a rapid first-innings century stand, were once more in occupation.

They almost repeated the dose too, in a partnership of 82 this time which took the hosts to well within 100 runs of their target with more than 20 overs remaining.

A much-needed wicket came from an unlikely source in Joe Root, who did Anderson in the flight as he aimed another big hit to leg and was bowled for 44.

Swann, off the field for several overs previously, returned only to almost immediately drop Watling on 47 off Broad at gully.

It proved a costly miss - because, even after Jimmy Neesham had pulled a Root long-hop straight into Broad's hands at square-leg to go for 20, Watling saw the job through against the second new ball in an unbroken half-century stand alongside Neil Wagner who was unbeaten on 28.

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