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March 18, 2013
New Zealand 254 (McCullum 69, Broad 6-51) and 162 for 2 (Williamson 55*) drew with England 465 (Trott 121, Compton 100, Prior 82)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Auckland will decide the Test series after the final day at the Basin Reserve was abandoned without a ball bowled. The final decision, which had looked likely from early morning as steady rain fell, came shortly after 2pm.
The tail-end of Cyclone Sandra had arrived on cue during the fourth day and the weather was worse on the final morning, with low cloud and rain meaning that players from both teams returned to their hotels when it was clear there would be no action before lunch. Although the skies brightened around midday, the outfield had taken a lot of water and there was never really a big effort to clear the area.
The umpires, Asad Rauf and Rod Tucker, had a couple of inspections during the afternoon and some of the players prodded around on the outfield without anyone looked particularly keen to get out there. Further rain then made the decision easy.
In a flip of the situation in Dunedin, this time England will be frustrated and New Zealand relieved. Alastair Cook had enforced the follow-on on the third evening but his bowlers only managed two wickets in the second innings on a docile surface. Even without the assistance of the weather, the home side could have saved the match - their top-order put in a stubborn display in their second innings, led by Kane Williamson's unbeaten half-century.
England's bowlers were not at their best second time around, having worked hard to remove New Zealand for 254, and the fast men were feeling the effects of back-to-back innings in the field. Monty Panesar, while steady, did not provide the wicket-taking threat that will have been hoped for although did create some difficulties out of the rough.
Both teams will now travel north with an eager eye in the pitch, a drop-in, that will be prepared at Eden Park. Bowlers from both sides have been forced to labour during lengthy stints in the field and it is not inconceivable that some fresh legs will be needed for the final match.
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