New Zealand v England, 1st Test, Dunedin, 5th day March 10, 2013

'We gave it everything' - McCullum


Brendon McCullum was full of praise for his bowling attack's "phenomenal" attempts to force victory against England after chipping away during the final day to ensure the visitors were not completely safe until midway through the final session.

It took New Zealand more than an hour to break through, removing Nick Compton for 117, but a fiery eight-over spell from Neil Wagner, to claim the scalps of Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen, gave New Zealand a glimmer which flickered a little brighter shortly after tea when Steven Finn, the nightwatchman, was finally dismissed and Joe Root was run out without scoring.

"I thought even up until the last couple of overs we were a red hot crack, if we could get into those bowlers with the ball still new," McCullum said. "I think we gave it everything we possibly could. I thought the bowlers were huge today to stand up and bowl as well as they did and for as long as what they did on a pretty unresponsive pitch, which was obviously still only a day four pitch, it was a phenomenal effort.

"They will be stiff and sore tonight but they will know they were standing up trying to bowl us to a win and you know that's exactly what you want from your bowling line-up."

The quick men had a tremendous workload in the fourth innings. Wagner, who was impressive throughout the match to finish with seven wickets, sent down 43 overs which was the most by a New Zealand fast bowler in an innings since Daryl Tuffey delivered 49 against Pakistan in 2001 while Trent Boult ended with 35 and Tim Southee 36.

"Neil was huge today, 40-something overs as a quick," McCullum said. "He kept running in, bowling nine or 10-over spells at times and I thought he was phenomenal."

The other main star for New Zealand was Hamish Rutherford who made 171 on his debut to suggest that there may be a long-term option to what has been a very problematic position for the team. In the previous series, against South Africa, McCullum took the responsibility to open on his shoulders but feels his role his better suited to the middle-order.

"It's a dream debut and not just for him and everyone else who was at the ground and also in the changing room," McCullum said. "It was an amazing effort to turn up on debut and in an area where we've struggled in the past. And not just make runs but the way he made then runs.

"To have someone who scores at such a clip put us in a position in a four-day Test match where we able to try and push for a result. He was outstanding and he never changed his mood from before the Test match till after it, so that's a good sign for the future."

After a nightmare Test series in South Africa, where they never held any position of strength in either match, this contest gave McCullum the opportunity to pull the strings himself. He is only three matches into his captaincy tenure, after the difficult transition from Ross Taylor, and while he realises this was still only a draw it he believes it has given them a base to build from.

"We know the public's crying out for the Test game to improve, and we're crying out for our Test game to improve as well," he said. "This is a big step for us to look at where we were and where we are now and show ourselves and also our fans what we're capable of achieving against good teams too.

"The challenge now is to back it up for Test two and Test three and continue to put yourself in positions where you're dominating and dictating the test match. That's what we were able to do in this Test and the game's a lot easier when you're dictating rather than being dictated to."

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on March 10, 2013, 22:32 GMT

    actually it was 4 sessions not two days and with some of the first day we would have won that game!

  • Andrew on March 10, 2013, 19:24 GMT

    Sorry, who does McCullum think he's kidding. Nearly 300 ahead, the opposition has to bat for essentially two days to save the game having imploded in two sessions in the 1st innings, and they only take six wickets in that 2 days, one of which is a silly run out and another is a nightwatchman who hangs around for two whole sesssions with hardly any problems. And that is "phenomenal". Hope they don't have an off day at Wellington or Auckland...

  • Mark on March 10, 2013, 19:10 GMT

    And how, @jmcilhinney!! This was my greatest beef with England 2003/2004: they could play a brilliant match and then have a dreadful session, or day, or occasionally complete match. Somewhere in the collective psyche the team is capable of going AWOL as they dis on the first day of play here.

  • Mike on March 10, 2013, 15:37 GMT

    Good stuff from the Kiwi's a spirited effort by the bowlers o that deck. But you do wonder if they regret not leaving some live grass on the pitch as this was there best chance of a win in all probability. Still, they can't be ruled out, this won't be easy. 1-0 England maybe ?

  • John on March 10, 2013, 12:59 GMT

    @Dion Newburn on (March 10, 2013, 12:09 GMT), quite so. England are a very good team with plenty of very good players but they are still far too susceptible to having a shocker. SA have really found some consistency lately and are looking far more dominant at the moment than I expected them to be as a result. That sort of consistency still looks some way away for England. NZ showed some good stuff this game and look to be moving in the right direction. They may never be a power in Test cricket again unless they produce another Richard Hadlee but they look capable of improving their ranking in the next few years.

  • Garry on March 10, 2013, 12:38 GMT

    The only way we could of won that game was if we had a Shane Bond like player in our ranks, on lifeless wickets only a extra quick and acurate bowler has a chance.

  • John on March 10, 2013, 12:16 GMT

    A great effort by NZ. For a team with much more limited resources than England to dominate the game was a fine achievement. Even though I'm an England fan, I wouldn't have begrudged them the win.

  • Dummy4 on March 10, 2013, 12:15 GMT

    Top effort NZ. Wagner is a real find. Will be very dangerous with the ball swinging. Bruce Martin deserved his chance and to be honest earn't himself selection for the 2nd test is a very good player. Dunedin showed the importance of getting yourself set as a batsman and the rest took care of its self. England will come back hard in the next test and hopefully New Zealand will give them another good crack.

  • Dummy4 on March 10, 2013, 12:09 GMT

    Great work NZ. If the pitch wasn't such a road NZ may well have won. With the class England has it surprises me how average they can be at times. But full credit to NZ and Inthink McCullum is doing a good job and good to see him down the order.

  • Ski on March 10, 2013, 11:58 GMT

    Well played New Zealand. England were hanging on at the end and if there had been another day there would have only been one winner. However, it will be interesting to see how the NZ bowlers perform having been in the field for 2 days and with the next test starting on Thursday

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