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An unbeaten century from Ian Bell anchored England's innings against a New Zealand XI Wednesday, as rookie paceman Jimmy Neesham made short work of the tourists' top order. Photo by Teaukura Moetaua

Queenstown, New Zealand – An unbeaten century from Ian Bell anchored England's innings against a New Zealand XI Wednesday, as rookie paceman Jimmy Neesham made short work of the tourists' top order including Kevin Pietersen.

England were seven for 357 at stumps on the opening day of the four-day warm-up for next month's Test series, with Bell on 127 not out and Stuart Broad unbeaten on six.

Pietersen was rested in the recent one-day and Twenty20 series against the Black Caps. He did not last long in his first hit-out since arriving in New Zealand, dismissed for 14 after just 35 minutes at the crease.

Neesham claimed the prized scalp, also dismissing Nick Compton (21) and Jonathan Trott (1) before lunch to leave England teetering at 3-81.

Alastair Cook and Bell steadied the innings before the England captain departed on 60, with Joe Root (49) and Matt Prior (41) both making starts as Bell resolutely held up the other end.

Prior became Neesham's next victim, with the 22-year-old ending the day on figures of four for 65.

The three-Test series begins in Dunedin on March 6. – Sapa-AFP


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