Millennium Post

Dogged England salvage draw

A determined England batted through the final day to salvage a draw from the first Test against New Zealand at the University Oval in Dunedin on Sunday. At stumps England were 421 for six, a lead of 128 runs, after facing a 293-run deficit on the first innings in the rain-interrupted Test. Despite the best efforts of England nightwatchman Steven Finn and New Zealand quick Neil Wagner on the final day, an outright result was never more than a remote possibility on the unresponsive wicket. New Zealand saw a glimmer of hope in the first three overs after tea when Finn was eventually removed after 203 minutes at the crease for 56 and Root quickly followed without scoring.

But Ian Bell, with an unbeaten 26, and Matt Prior not out 23 carried England through to stumps without further loss and saw off the third new ball in the process. Although a draw, New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum saw it as a morale-boosting performance for his side who dominated the early stages of the Test against the world’s second-ranked side.

‘We never gave up the belief that we could get the job done but we weren’t quite able to finish off. Another day of Test cricket would have been phenomenal,’ he said, rueing the time lost through rain.
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