March 26, 2013
England defied the odds in Auckland by batting out the final day to ensure they were undefeated on their tour of New Zealand as the series finished 0-0.
The visitors finished at stumps on 315-9 sparking wild celebrations from the Barmy Army who knew the victory was just as good as many an England win that they had seen. New Zealand went into the final day needing just six wickets for victory, but agonisingly they could only manage five.
Matt Prior made an outstanding 110 not out, and left the field with Monty Panesar (2 not out) who yet again proved he could hold his nerve in such a situation. Prior has yet again shown his value to England in all situations and would be ranked alongside MS Dhoni as the best wicket-keeper batsman in the world.
There was also some great resistance from Ian Bell who made 75 crucial runs. What was even more important about Bell’s innings was that he spent 351 minutes at the crease, chewing up 271 balls in the process.
Although Stuart Broad made only 6 runs, it was a handy effort as he batted for over two hours with Prior in getting England into a position where they could draw the game.
New Zealand tried hard but their bowlers were found wanting on what admittedly was still an excellent wicket for batting. Despite not sealing victory in Auckland, New Zealand would have been please with their efforts in this series, as it was expected England would win comfortably.
England head home for what will be a big summer of cricket with New Zealand touring before the Ashes.
The Scoop 26/03/13