New Zealand v England, 3rd Test, Auckland, 5th day March 26, 2013

The gamble that almost paid off for McCullum

Plays of the day from the final day of the Auckland Test between New Zealand and England

Over of the day
With four overs to go in the day, Brendon McCullum threw Kane Williamson the ball. One final throw of the dice - and it so nearly worked. With his third ball, he had Stuart Broad caught at first slip to end 77 balls of defiance and two deliveries later, James Anderson went the same way. It was fantastic bowling from a part-time offspinner. He so nearly sealed the match, too, when Monty Panesar got an inside edge past the stumps. What tension.

Cheers of the day
The New Zealand fans were applauding an England boundary. Prior was desperate to get the strike back so he could face Williamson's final over the match, but when the ball squirted between gully and point, it had enough pace to reach the rope even across a slow outfield. The home support gave it a standing ovation, but their joy was short-lived as Panesar squeezed a single off the next ball he faced, although he needed a desperate dive to make it to the other end.

Limp of the day
Shortly before New Zealand's first breakthrough of the day, McCullum had to chase a ball to the boundary and hurt himself in the process. When the wicket fell, he was actually off the field having treatment, but soon hobbled back on to take his place at second slip and marshal his team as he had done superbly throughout the series.

Drop of the day
There were two in the last over before lunch. It was the first of them, Ian Bell put down by Dean Brownlie at fourth slip, that could have been costly because Bell has saved England in the past with a long rearguard against South Africa at Cape Town. Boult drew Bell into playing away from his body and the edge flew at a decent height to Brownlie, who had held a fine catch to remove Alastair Cook on the fourth evening; but he could not cling on.

Unmoveable bails of the day
Matt Prior lived a charmed life. On 20, he top-edged a pull just out of the reach of Neil Wagner running back from midwicket, but his biggest stroke of fortune came on 28. This time Wagner had Prior fending off a short ball, which lobbed from the glove down onto the stumps but, despite striking with reasonable force, the bails stayed firmly in place. How he made his luck count.

Wicket of the day
Bell had made use of his pre-lunch escape and made it to the brink of tea. Then, however, facing Neil Wagner, in another charged-up spell from around the wicket, he drove at a delivery that should have just been leaving - as he had done to so many - and edged into the slip cordon. This time it was held, by Tim Southee at third, to leave New Zealand on the brink. Or so we thought.

Review of the day
Stuart Broad has been in less awkward positions on a cricket pitch than the moment he was given lbw to Trent Boult, collapsed to the ground and called for a review while down on his knees in the crease. The replays showed a thick inside edge so Broad was safe and the immediate concern became his well-being, after the bat handle jabbed him in the throat as he fell down. A red mark was visible on his neck, but after a quick painkiller he was fine to continue. For quite some time.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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