New Zealand Clinch Record-Breaking Series Win over England

New Zealand Clinch Record-Breaking Series Win over England

The second test in Christchurch ended in a draw with New Zealand holding off England on the final day to win the series by one match to another. England were marginally the better side but could not force the win and head home after what has been a largely disappointing tour.

Going into the match in Christchurch, New Zealand named an unchanged side, but England made three changes with Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes and Craig Overton left out in favour of Mark Wood, James Vince and Somerset left-arm spinner Jack Leach who came in for his debut.

The changes strengthened the bowling at the expense of the batting, and the impact was quickly felt as New Zealand won the toss and opted to field. Alastair Cook’s wretched tour continued as he was bowled for just 2 by Trent Boult in the second over, and Vince flattered to deceive once more, playing fluently before he was lbw to Tim Southee for 18. Mark Stoneman and captain Joe Root then took the score to 93, before three wickets fell in the space of 9 balls for the addition of just one run. Root (37) and Stoneman (35) both fell to the impressive Southee, and Dawid Malan was lbw to Boult for a duck.

Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow then staged a mini-recovery, but when Stokes became Boult’s third wicket of the day when he had scored 25, England were in trouble, a situation made worse when Stuart Broad, promoted up the order, fell cheaply to Southee. It was left to Bairstow and Wood to rescue the situation with an attacking stand of 95 for the eighth wicket. Bairstow enjoyed some luck, being dropped twice, but the pair took on the New Zealand bowlers, with Wood, in particular, taking the initiative on his way to his maiden test half-century.

He fell shortly before the close of play to Southee who claimed his fifth wicket of the innings, but Leach played solidly to see out the day with Bairstow who finished on 97 not out, three runs short of what would be his 5th test century, as England close on 290 - 8.

England survived for another half an hour on Saturday morning, which was enough time for Bairstow to reach his century and Southee to take his 6th wicket to finish with 6 for 62. Bairstow was last man out to Boult who took 4 for 87 as England were bowled out for 307.

In reply, England quickly had New Zealand in trouble, with James Anderson and Broad reducing them 36 -5, with Broad striking in the second over to remove Tom Latham for a duck, following up with the wickets of Ross Taylor and Henry Nicholls. At the other end his fast bowling partner accounted for Jeet Raval and Kiwi captain Kane Williamson for 22.

Much like with the England innings, it was the middle order who rescued New Zealand, with wicketkeeper BJ Watling and Colin de Grandhomme putting together a stand of 142 for the sixth wicket. Broad returned late on to claim his 4th wicket when he had de Grandhomme caught behind for 72, but with Watling 77 not out overnight and Southee undefeated on 13, the hosts closed on 192 – 6 with the match evenly balanced.

The home side were undone by the new ball in the morning session, with Watling bowled by Anderson for 85. Ish Sodhi was caught behind off the bowling of Broad for just a single, and Southee having reached 50 was bowled by Anderson. A stubborn last-wicket partnership of 39 runs between Neil Wagner (24 not out) and Boult 16, delayed England for seven overs, but Broad finally had Boult caught as New Zealand were bowled out for 278. Broad finished with 6 for 54 and Anderson 4 for 76.

Starting their second innings with a lead of 29, England extended that by 24 before Alistair Cook’s poor series with the bat ended with another low score as he was caught behind off Boult for 14. However, two men under pressure for their places in the England team, Mark Stoneman and James Vince, then put the visitors in control with a 123 run partnership. Stoneman rode his luck, being dropped twice and given a reprieve on appeal when initially given out, but he battled his way before edging Southee to Watling for 60. Vince then reached his second-highest test score of 76 before flashing Boult to first slip.

That brought Root and Malan together at the crease and the pair saw the day out as England closed on 202-3, a lead of 231, with Root on 30 not out and Malan undefeated on 19.

The pair continued on the 4th morning, playing patiently before both fell to the old ball before lunch. Both had reached half-centuries and both fell with the score on 262 – Malan to de Grandhomme for 53 and Root to Neil Wagner for 53. Stokes fell after lunch for 12, but Bairstow, who was dropped when he had only scored 2, looked to add some momentum to the innings with the tail, as they pushed the England score past 350. When Bairstow eventually fell for 352 – 9, England declared, setting New Zealand 382 to win. De Grandhomme was the pick of the New Zealand bowlers with 4 – 94.

In reply, the New Zealand opening pair of Jeet Raval and Tom Latham played with determination in tough conditions to score 42 before bad light stopped play. Latham was dropped by Vince off the bowling of Anderson, and Raval was consistently beaten by the bowlers but both survived until bad light stopped play, with Latham on 25 not out and Raval unbeaten on 17.

The final day started in great fashion for England as they took wickets with the first two balls of the morning, Raval and skipper Kane Williamson both falling to Broad. When Ross Taylor and Henry Nicholls both fell before lunch, the visitors scented victory.

However, Latham dug-in and with Watling, the pair resisted the England bowlers before Watling became Wood’s first victim of the match, out for 19. Latham and de Grandhomme continued to keep the bowlers at bay until Latham was finally out for 83, after nearly 5 hours at the crease.

England still thought they could win at that stage but a 57 run partnership between de Grandhomme and Sodhi thwarted them for 26 overs, and, by the point that de Grandhomme fell to Wood for 45, time and the light was against them. There was still time for Root to capture the wicket of Wagner but that was the end of proceedings, as bad light stopped play. New Zealand were 256 - 8 with Sodhi 56 not out.

Tim Southee was named man of the match.

Rajeev mcallister
Sports Pundit staff writer

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