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Last Updated: Saturday, 2 February 2008, 06:08 GMT
England win New Zealand warm-up
Tour match, Christchurch: England 295-6 beat Canterbury 244 by 51 runs

Luke Wright
Wright goes "downtown" with this big drive in Christchurch

An explosive innings from Sussex all-rounder Luke Wright was the highlight as England secured a victory in their first match in New Zealand.

They beat Canterbury by 51 runs after hitting 295-6 and bowling out their opponents for 244 in Christchurch.

Ian Bell top-scored with 79 off 89 balls after Alastair Cook and Phil Mustard's 73-run stand in 15 overs.

Wright hit 42 not out off just 15 balls, while James Anderson also impressed, taking 5-47.

England bowled on after winning, Canterbury finishing on 261-11.

It was a timely display from Wright, who was included in England's squad for the one-day series in Sri Lanka but failed to make the starting line-up for the five matches.

He seized his opportunity at QEII Park with gusto, hitting three fours and three sixes.

His confident hitting appeared to put him in the frame for the two Twenty20 internationals, on Tuesday and Thursday, if not the five one-day internationals that follow.

Wright's destructive innings over the closing overs followed steady performances from most of England's top order in a match where both sides used 13 players.

BBC Sport's Oliver Brett

Essex left-hander Cook dominated the opening stand, Mustard struggling to find his rhythm before being bowled for 22 trying to guide through mid-wicket.

Cook followed six overs later when he edged behind for 51 off 66 balls, setting the stage for Bell to help guide England towards a competitive total.

The Warwickshire right-hander forged a useful 88-run stand with Kevin Pietersen, who looked set to become the third batsman to reach his half-century but fell two runs short when he clipped to mid-wicket after hitting six fours and a six.

We've got a strong squad so everyone is fighting for their places at the moment

Luke Wright

Collingwood played on for 18 and England's hopes of reaching a really big total seemed doomed when they lost Owais Shah and Bell to successive balls.

Shah was caught in the deep attempting quick runs in the final overs while Bell was caught at mid-on having hit nine boundaries during his innings.

But Wright swung the momentum back England's way and Canterbury faced a daunting target.

The hosts, whose line-up included New Zealand internationals Michael Papps and Peter Fulton, got off to a bad start with Anderson dismissing both openers to catches behind.

Fulton and Johann Myburgh - a South African who hit a first-class double century aged 17 - added 81 for the third wicket to halt the slide.

James Anderson and Paul Collingwood
Anderson celebrates one of the his five wickets on Saturday

And Myburgh stayed on to hit a determined 87 before being run out by captain Paul Collingwood.

Anderson wrapped up the tail with three wickets in five overs as Canterbury, who are bottom of the table in New Zealand's domestic cricket, lost their last five wickets for 29 runs.

The triumph was confirmed with Ryan Sidebottom having last man Andrew Ellis caught at mid-on by Bell, but England were keen to bowl all their 50 overs, giving the final scorecard a strange look.

Dimitri Mascarenhas, one of England's fringe players, took 2-43, while Sidebottom took the 11th wicket to finish with a tidy 2-34 from his 10 overs.

Wright said afterwards: "I didn't think I was going to get in, but it all happened quite quickly and it was nice to get in for five overs and luckily it went well.

"I suppose it suits me to either go in at the top of the order or at the end and just try to get bat on ball. It was perfect for me and Ravi [Bopara] to go in and have a go.

"We've got a strong squad so everyone is fighting for their places at the moment. Every time we go out in the middle or in training, I think everyone is trying to impress and get in that first side."

England play their final warm-up game against the same opposition on Sunday but have reduced the number of players per side to 12 to complete their preparations before the first Twenty20 international in Auckland.

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