CHESTER-LE-STREET, June 15 – Kevin Pietersen’s unbeaten 110 was the cornerstone of England’s imposing 307 for five against New Zealand in the first one-day international at the Riverside here Sunday.,
Pietersen’s sixth hundred at this level was his first since scoring 104 against Australia at the World Cup in Antigua last year and saw him at his commanding best.
In all he faced 113 balls with three sixes and eight fours.
Together with England one-day captain Paul Collingwood, who made a run-a-ball 64 in front of his Durham home crowd, he put on 136 for the fourth wicket after England had declined to 95 for three following a solid start.
Owais Shah ensured the runs kept coming with a dashing 49 off 25 balls with three sixes and fours fours, adding 73 in just 35 deliveries with Pietersen.
Earlier Ian Bell, retained as on opener after his man-of-the-match winning 60 in England’s nine-wicket Twenty20 win at Old Trafford on Friday, made a brisk 46 before he was wastefully run out.
Bell, after New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori won the toss and elected to field, had a lucky break when, off the first ball of the match, he was caught behind off a Kyle Mills no-ball.
Next ball, Bell took advantage of the ‘free-hit’ rule to loft Mills high over mid-off for four.
The normally aggressive Luke Wright struggled and fell for 11 when a mistimed drive off pace bowler Michael Mason went straight to Vettori at mid-off with England now 49 for one in the 12th over.
Then, from the relative security of 84 for one, England lost two quick wickets. Bell hesistated as Mason appealed for lbw against him and was run out by Ross Taylor’s direct hit from mid-wicket.
New batsman Ravi Bopara, who made a stunning 201 not out for Essex in a 50-over match against Leicestershire, tried to drive Scott Styris down the ground but went for four when the medium-pacer held a caught and bowled chance.
Collingwood drove Styris down to long-on and cut him to third man for two fours in as many balls.
Pietersen, fresh from his unbeaten 42 on Friday, then produced two extraordinary shots, twice reverse-sweeping Styris, whose eight overs cost an expensive 63 runs, for six out of the middle of the bat.
New Zealand came into this match ranked third in the world in 50-over cricket and with a 3-1 series win over England on home soil to their credit.
But without accurate pace bowler Jacob Oram, who was injured, their seamers struggled to keep the runs down.
Vettori, whose 10 overs cost just 38 runs, did break England’s fourth-wicket stand when Collingwood edged a cut onto his own stumps having struck two sixes and four fours.
Shah though was quickly into his stride, launching Mills for a huge six.
England took 16 runs apiece off the 48th and 49th overs.
Southee, in the final over of the innings, was driven straight by Shah for a superb six before the Middlesex batsman holed out.