London, May 25: England took a thrilling first test at Lord's when it bowled out New Zealand for 220 to win by 124 runs with 9.3 overs to spare in the final session today. [Ben Stokes hit fastest ton at Lord's]
Six bowlers shared the wickets as the team produced a victory following a tumultuous buildup, including the sacking of their coach, in an engrossing match that was a gift to test cricket. Fortunes fluctuated daily, and swung England's way for good with terrific swing bowling at the start of New Zealand's second innings.
The Kiwis lost their openers within the first seven balls, and Ross Taylor for 8, and in half an hour they were in survival mode. They stalled England for 62 more overs, and were finished off under lights, Stuart Broad taking his third wicket. Just as the wickets on the last day were shared, so were England's match honours.
They were coming off a loss in their last test in the West Indies, where James Anderson was the linchpin of that series, and in the interim saw coach Peter Moores sacked and in-form batsman Kevin Pietersen banished again. But England was well-served as usual by captain Alastair Cook and Joe Root, and by all-rounder Ben Stokes, the man of the match who used his middle-order promotion to score 193 runs and take three wickets, and new paceman Mark Wood, who claimed four wickets.
The Kiwis have been unbeaten in test series since the last tour here two years ago, and won four of six series to rise two ranking places above England into third. Home advantage and history gave England a slight advantage coming in, and while the 100th test between them was one of the most compelling, it ended like so many before. New Zealand, searching for just a ninth win over England, still hasn't won here in this century.
The positive-minded New Zealanders would have fancied the target of 345 in 77 overs achievable an hour before lunch, but in a blink they were in tatters. Openers Martin Guptill and Tom Latham went for ducks, followed by Taylor at 12-3. There was a touch of deja vu about it all, which recalled New Zealand's debacle at Lord's two years ago. Back then, New Zealand earned a winning target of 239, only to be routed for 68. Panic seized them then, but not today.