England v New Zealand, 1st Investec Test, Lord's, 5th day May 25, 2015

McCullum fails to find the 'second launch'

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'A fantastic Test match' - McCullum

Even at 12 for 3, Brendon McCullum was not thinking about purely trying to save the first Test at Lord's - something that ultimately proved 9.3 overs out of reach in one of the finest Tests staged on the ground.

When Ross Taylor was lbw to Stuart Broad before lunch it was not McCullum who came down the pavilion steps at No. 5 but BJ Watling. But the plan was not to shut up shop but to try and form a platform for a "second launch". For a while, as Watling and Corey Anderson added 107 in 27 overs, McCullum dared to dream that another incredible New Zealand story could unfold only for the match to end in a defeat that would have been scarcely believable 48 hours earlier.

"It just organically happened that we realised it was probably a little bit beyond us," he said. "But at least when Corey was batting, he's such a free-scorer and with the field the way it was, who knows, if he'd been able to manufacture a partnership, how close we may have got. I thought our No. 10 and 11 did well to hang on there as long as they did and BJ Watling for me, it was another example of how important he is at soaking up the pressure which is why we promoted him to try and set up for a second launch.

"To England's credit they were too good for us in the crucial stages but I'm still really proud of our guys and the way we kept going. I thought it was a fantastic Test to be a part of, to play five days in front of full houses at Lord's and for it come down to the final 10 overs is a testament to how good it was."

New Zealand still only have one Test victory at Lord's, the win in 1999 that helped them secure the series victory. The best they can hope for this time, in a two-match series that deserves to be longer, is a share of the spoils from Headingley and for all McCullum's positivity this will always be a match that got away after their dominance on the second and third days.

"It hurts a lot, I won't lie," he said. "At the same time there's an element of pride that we continue to play a style of cricket that gives us our greatest chance. There will be times when teams can stand up to you and withstand the pressure and come out on top. You just have to doff the cap, say well played and make sure next time you get the chance you go hard again and ask the same question. Who knows, at Headingley we may see a different result but I'm sure our guys will continue to play the same style."

McCullum said there were some "sore bodies" in the dressing room, among them Watling with his knee and neck and also Anderson with a back niggle. The three frontline quicks all bowled more than 50 overs in the match, with Trent Boult sending down 63, but McCullum insisted the team would be ready to go again

"Emotionally our guys are really steady and that's allowed us to be able to play some good cricket so that will be the message, no knee jerk reaction to a performance like this because we were pretty good for most of it."

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo

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