England made a late but great comeback against New Zealand to earn a fantastic draw after going behind early on in the match. Matt Prior made an unbeaten 110 whilst Monty Panesar survived through the final 5 balls in the dying embers of the game to grab England a draw in the third Test at New Zealand’s home stadium in Auckland, Eden Park.
Matt Prior and Stuart Broad defended determinedly at 237-7 but Broad and James Anderson fell in the fourth over before the close. Nevertheless, Prior and Panesar saved the day for England pulling a draw out of the bag with England on 315-9 at the end of the game. Matt Prior was the main man for England as he faced 182 balls and batted for just under 4 and a half hours after overcoming a leg before wicket (lbw) decision and surviving the ball hitting his wicket earlier in the game.
It is very rare in test cricket when a team has gone into the final day of play 4 wickets down and not suffered a defeat in the end; in fact this is only the third time it has ever happened. Ian Bell got out just before tea battling for 75 which left Prior with 3 tail-enders going into the final session. Despite Broad being in terrible form with the bat, he was playing with discipline and eventually got off the mark on his 62nd ball after a Test record 103 minutes in the middle.
As soon as New Zealand were starting to look desperate, Kane Williams got Broad and Anderson out in the space of three balls, which allowed Panesar onto the field where he held his nerve and saw the rest of the game out. However, Panesar was nearly out of the game in a comical fashion when he mistimed a dive in attempt to make his ground, luckily he recovered quickly.
England were going into this Test against New Zealand expecting to come out with a comfortable victory after they historically defeated India playing away before Christmas. Alastair Cook’s side did not play up to scratch and were completely outplayed by New Zealand over the first four days of play. However, the draw means that India do not move above England in the International Cricket Council Test rankings and New Zealand did not claim their fourth victory over the English in Test cricket.
Author Daniel Foster.
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