England Batsmen Ensure First NZ Test Ends In Draw

by
Reuters
England's batsmen showed the resilience they had been lacking in their first innings to battle to a draw in the first of three tests against New Zealand at University Oval on Sunday.

* Finn performs perfect nightwatchman role

* Test ends in draw

England's batsmen showed the resilience they had been lacking in their first innings to battle to a draw in the first of three tests against New Zealand at University Oval on Sunday.

The tourists, who had been bundled out for 167 in their first innings, were 421 for six with a lead of 128 runs when captains Alastair Cook and Brendon McCullum agreed a result was unlikely in the remaining 15 overs available on the final day.

Ian Bell, on 26, and wicketkeeper Matt Prior on 23 were at the crease when the match ended, having snuffed out New Zealand's slim hopes of victory in the final session.

Those hopes had been briefly roused after the tea break when nightwatchman Steven Finn was trapped in front by left arm spinner Bruce Martin for 56 and Joe Root was run out for a duck.

Root's dismissal left England on 390 for six, a lead of 97 runs with a minimum 31 overs remaining in the day.

Finn's first test half century and highest first class score exemplified England's doggedness in their second innings as he played the nightwatchman's role to perfection.

Prior to his first innings knock of 20 at University Oval, his previous highest test score was 19 against Sri Lanka at Lord's in 2011.

The tall fast bowler faced 203 balls and batted for almost five hours as he held up one end while the more established batsmen chipped away at what was remaining of New Zealand's imposing 293-run first innings lead after McCullum had declared their first innings at 460 for nine.

Jonathan Trott (52) and Kevin Pietersen (12) were the only two wickets to fall during the middle session as New Zealand's bowlers toiled away on a barren pitch that offered them no assistance.

The tourists had resumed on 234 for one, a deficit of 59 runs, after Cook (116) had been dismissed just before stumps on Saturday.

Nick Compton was the only batsman out before lunch, trapped lbw by Wagner for 117, but he was able to head back to the pavillion safe in the knowledge that his partnership with Cook on Saturday had resurrected England's position in the match.

The pair put on a stubborn 231-run opening stand, taking a massive chunk out of New Zealand's first innings lead.

"It's a case of 'right, we got away with that one guys but we're going to have to turn on for the next game'," Compton told reporters

"We put ourselves in this position, we're well aware of that. We weren't good enough in the first innings and New Zealand were right on it. They batted brilliantly, they bowled well.

"So it was a bit of a kick up the proverbial, if you know what I mean. It was a case of really trying to get back into it.

"We're aware that if we play to our capabilities then we've got a good chance, no doubt."

The series resumes in Wellington next week with the third test taking place in Auckland starting on March 22.