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
22

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • JG2704 on March 27, 2013, 15:32 GMT

    @Paul Carew on (March 26, 2013, 18:01 GMT) You're certainly right re the description of bottler describer but I suppose if you were being harsh , he didn't see the job through and leaving Prior with Broad and below with a session to survive would for the vast majority of the time be too big an ask. However it was a well earned wicket so bottling it was a bit strong. Bell (on this occasion) was more deserving to be there at the end than Prior who had a huge amount of luck. It was a shame Hick and Ramps didn't do better (esp for me Hick) but they were given chances. And Vaughan is spot on - we were outplayed in the series as a whole. NZ got the better of the 1st test , Eng the 2nd and NZ by far the better of the 3rd. Yes we drew the 3rd and grit helped us do it but so did BM batting on so long and dropped chances and luck

  • jmcilhinney on March 27, 2013, 1:02 GMT

    I think Monty's dive suffered from "drop-in pitch syndrome", which was also an issue for one of the NZ batsmen earlier, who nearly impaled himself on his bat. The grass beside the pitch is lush, outfield-type grass, unlike on a regular pitch square. As such, it makes sliding your bat, or your body, over the line a slightly different proposition.

  • SameOld on March 27, 2013, 0:01 GMT

    Easy to say Baz should have declared earlier, but I think he was probably considering factors we are not. He definitely wasn't worried about his hundred, that suggestion is ridiculous. I think it much more likely that he wanted to bat through the comfortable middle session, run up and down the pitch a few more times, and just make England wait and wonder that bit longer. Four sessions should have been plenty, and would have been if not for dropped catches and/or a missed referral on Bairstow and/or Prior's bizarre non-dismissal.

    A great Test, so glad I got to watch most of it. Positives for both sides to take away. The kiwis should be stoked to have bossed this particular English team into batting out time in two of three Tests, and the English should be pretty chuffed with having pulled it off, twice. England with more questions to answer, though NZ's batting still looked a bit thin at times.

    Looking forward to the return series!

  • Lmaotsetung on March 26, 2013, 23:39 GMT

    @marts30 - I'm talking about the IPL guys missing the return series. I'm not up to speed with NZ cricket but wasn't there talk of NZ sending a second string team to England because of IPL commitments?

  • Bring_back_Wright on March 26, 2013, 21:56 GMT

    @ theDoctor - it obviously wasn't "plenty of time" to bowl them out. In case you failed to notice, we only got 9 wickets. I was on the fence about the follow-on, but felt we definitely batted too long. As well as the time aspect, by giving them absolutely no chance of winning it simplified their approach to just concentrating on survival. With the innings by Bell, it could have been an advantage to have in the back his mind that a victory was an outside possibility if he scored some runs. It would also have let us take the second new ball in the morning, when there often seems to be a bit more swing around (moisture in the air???).

    Anyhow, I agree with you that Bell played very well, and some people are not giving him the credit he deserves. Runs were irrelevant, and he faced the most balls, therefore his was the best innings in my book.

  • on March 26, 2013, 20:37 GMT

    no i agree with baz not enforcing follow on in the previous two tests his bowlers had been thrashed to their knees, he gave himself the best chance of winning batting again and batted england right out of the game. as for the declaration he got that just about right. new zealand created enough chances to win and in the end two dropped catches one of which should have been taken was enough to loose the match!

  • The_Mystery_Ball on March 26, 2013, 19:49 GMT

    That was the best game I have seen in a long time. A drawn series is the perfect result considering the resilience shown by both sides (and the stumps in this match ;) ).

  • on March 26, 2013, 18:01 GMT

    As usual some plonkers have a go at Bell for getting out or 'Bottling it', I really hate that term. 271 balls of defiance and he is again chastised. People are forever having a go at the bloke, probably the same ones who say that it was a shame that Hick and Ramprakash (with far inferior records) didn't do better or were not given much of a chance. I also get tired of ex-captains of England having a go, like Vaughan who lost 2 series in Sri Lanka very limply, saying England were outplayed. Does battling for a draw in the first Test not get any credit and if it had not been for almost 2 days of rain in the 2nd Test England could well have gone into this game 1-0 up.

  • omprakash885 on March 26, 2013, 13:30 GMT

    Everyone is talking that mcCullum should declare earlier. But no one is talking that why he is not enforced the follow on. If he has enforced the follow on, I am quite sure that Kiwis would certainly win the match. If the follow on was enforced, it would be really very very tough for England to overcome the deficit and then set a winning target.

  • bumsonseats on March 26, 2013, 13:12 GMT

    were the DRS is in use it does make the game more honest. as an example the commentary team say it must be out as the whole of team A, has gone up for a catch behind, but the umpire gives it not out.that been the case team A must use a referral,have a huddle look sheepish, but then use it, and by my thinking by doing that they know they were tying it on. i also thought in the ind v aus they seemed to have sneaked the DRS in by the back door, as some of the decisions that they sent upstairs should have been decided on field. all in all the games the better for its use

  • JG2704 on March 27, 2013, 15:32 GMT

    @Paul Carew on (March 26, 2013, 18:01 GMT) You're certainly right re the description of bottler describer but I suppose if you were being harsh , he didn't see the job through and leaving Prior with Broad and below with a session to survive would for the vast majority of the time be too big an ask. However it was a well earned wicket so bottling it was a bit strong. Bell (on this occasion) was more deserving to be there at the end than Prior who had a huge amount of luck. It was a shame Hick and Ramps didn't do better (esp for me Hick) but they were given chances. And Vaughan is spot on - we were outplayed in the series as a whole. NZ got the better of the 1st test , Eng the 2nd and NZ by far the better of the 3rd. Yes we drew the 3rd and grit helped us do it but so did BM batting on so long and dropped chances and luck

  • jmcilhinney on March 27, 2013, 1:02 GMT

    I think Monty's dive suffered from "drop-in pitch syndrome", which was also an issue for one of the NZ batsmen earlier, who nearly impaled himself on his bat. The grass beside the pitch is lush, outfield-type grass, unlike on a regular pitch square. As such, it makes sliding your bat, or your body, over the line a slightly different proposition.

  • SameOld on March 27, 2013, 0:01 GMT

    Easy to say Baz should have declared earlier, but I think he was probably considering factors we are not. He definitely wasn't worried about his hundred, that suggestion is ridiculous. I think it much more likely that he wanted to bat through the comfortable middle session, run up and down the pitch a few more times, and just make England wait and wonder that bit longer. Four sessions should have been plenty, and would have been if not for dropped catches and/or a missed referral on Bairstow and/or Prior's bizarre non-dismissal.

    A great Test, so glad I got to watch most of it. Positives for both sides to take away. The kiwis should be stoked to have bossed this particular English team into batting out time in two of three Tests, and the English should be pretty chuffed with having pulled it off, twice. England with more questions to answer, though NZ's batting still looked a bit thin at times.

    Looking forward to the return series!

  • Lmaotsetung on March 26, 2013, 23:39 GMT

    @marts30 - I'm talking about the IPL guys missing the return series. I'm not up to speed with NZ cricket but wasn't there talk of NZ sending a second string team to England because of IPL commitments?

  • Bring_back_Wright on March 26, 2013, 21:56 GMT

    @ theDoctor - it obviously wasn't "plenty of time" to bowl them out. In case you failed to notice, we only got 9 wickets. I was on the fence about the follow-on, but felt we definitely batted too long. As well as the time aspect, by giving them absolutely no chance of winning it simplified their approach to just concentrating on survival. With the innings by Bell, it could have been an advantage to have in the back his mind that a victory was an outside possibility if he scored some runs. It would also have let us take the second new ball in the morning, when there often seems to be a bit more swing around (moisture in the air???).

    Anyhow, I agree with you that Bell played very well, and some people are not giving him the credit he deserves. Runs were irrelevant, and he faced the most balls, therefore his was the best innings in my book.

  • on March 26, 2013, 20:37 GMT

    no i agree with baz not enforcing follow on in the previous two tests his bowlers had been thrashed to their knees, he gave himself the best chance of winning batting again and batted england right out of the game. as for the declaration he got that just about right. new zealand created enough chances to win and in the end two dropped catches one of which should have been taken was enough to loose the match!

  • The_Mystery_Ball on March 26, 2013, 19:49 GMT

    That was the best game I have seen in a long time. A drawn series is the perfect result considering the resilience shown by both sides (and the stumps in this match ;) ).

  • on March 26, 2013, 18:01 GMT

    As usual some plonkers have a go at Bell for getting out or 'Bottling it', I really hate that term. 271 balls of defiance and he is again chastised. People are forever having a go at the bloke, probably the same ones who say that it was a shame that Hick and Ramprakash (with far inferior records) didn't do better or were not given much of a chance. I also get tired of ex-captains of England having a go, like Vaughan who lost 2 series in Sri Lanka very limply, saying England were outplayed. Does battling for a draw in the first Test not get any credit and if it had not been for almost 2 days of rain in the 2nd Test England could well have gone into this game 1-0 up.

  • omprakash885 on March 26, 2013, 13:30 GMT

    Everyone is talking that mcCullum should declare earlier. But no one is talking that why he is not enforced the follow on. If he has enforced the follow on, I am quite sure that Kiwis would certainly win the match. If the follow on was enforced, it would be really very very tough for England to overcome the deficit and then set a winning target.

  • bumsonseats on March 26, 2013, 13:12 GMT

    were the DRS is in use it does make the game more honest. as an example the commentary team say it must be out as the whole of team A, has gone up for a catch behind, but the umpire gives it not out.that been the case team A must use a referral,have a huddle look sheepish, but then use it, and by my thinking by doing that they know they were tying it on. i also thought in the ind v aus they seemed to have sneaked the DRS in by the back door, as some of the decisions that they sent upstairs should have been decided on field. all in all the games the better for its use

  • TheDoctor394 on March 26, 2013, 12:21 GMT

    Well done England on holding out, and my sympathies to the Kiwis, who did deserve to win the series. But there are a couple of rather ludicrous comments here. McCullum should have declared earlier? He gave his team a day and a half to dismiiss a side who has been bundled out for about 200 in the first innings. That was plenty of time. And SurlyCynic is the perfect example of the "I don't like this player no matter what" type. Bell hangs on for 271 balls and 352 minutes, for 75 runs, but is just condemnded for getting out, and then we're told his career has "gone nowhere", despite the outstanding innings and beautiful batting he has displayed many times over, not to mention his brilliant close catching.

  • marts30 on March 26, 2013, 11:34 GMT

    @Lmaotsetung: Who exactly is 'full strength'? Ryder for Brownlie? Bracewell for Martin in Eng conditions? Apart from that, I think the team picks itself. Maybe McClenaghan will get a run.

  • nlpdave on March 26, 2013, 10:30 GMT

    NZ performed much as they usually do with the ball, dangerous when there is a little movement and flat when it's absent. England have the same problem. Martin bowled well earlier but perhaps his initial success was due to unfamiliarity, he has a lot to do to get to the level of Swann. As for the UK series I still expect NZ seam attack to be threatening but English pitches are different and the (still limited) England attack will probably be more successful. The gap in batting class and depth will probably be enough to secure an England win on home soil even without KP or Swann. If the latter is still absent the best choice by far would Tredwell. Fulton's technique will not help him on English soil.

  • Patchmaster on March 26, 2013, 9:11 GMT

    Wonderful game, wish McCullum had declared earlier, I think he'll regret it for a long time to come. Three more over might have done it.

  • bipulkumar on March 26, 2013, 9:05 GMT

    The draw was even closure considering that Monty got to bat 5 deliveries.

  • SurlyCynic on March 26, 2013, 9:04 GMT

    Can't believe that Bell gave his wicket away like that. He was given every chance to save England, playing and missing, being dropped in the slips. Yet then plays an unnecessary shot just before tea. He should say a big thankyou to Prior, Broad and Monty. As usual, he bottled it when the heat was on.

    When Bell came into the team it was clear he had talent, but not sure he had the mental strength. Sadly, Shane Warne was proved correct and Bell's career has gone nowhere because of moments like this.

  • MWaqqar on March 26, 2013, 8:57 GMT

    Dravid Laxman Kolkata test has changed the thinking of captains about enforcing follow on. This test was again proof follow on should be enforced. If Baz had enforced follow on it would have been a NZ victory.

  • 22many on March 26, 2013, 7:52 GMT

    my moment was when McCullum was batting....he was waiting out in the middle for the next batter to come out and they sent the water boy out to say "mate no one is coming as it is time to declare"...never seen that before....maybe he wanted a hundred as well!

  • Lithium11 on March 26, 2013, 6:48 GMT

    Brilliant game to watch and, while I'm a gutted Kiwi, I enjoyed every moment of it. The series was much more even than I had hoped. Some promising signs for NZ Cricket at last! Cheers England see you in your own backyard soon :)

  • jhaunton on March 26, 2013, 6:40 GMT

    Fascinating test anad series. Moral victory to NZ in Dunedin followed by the same to England in Wellington. Then this test, two bad calls (in hindsight I admit) by the captains - first Cook inserting NZ (under blue skies - bat first, if cloudy and the pitch is green - think about it - and then bat first) and the n McCullum not enforcing the follow on. That second error compunded by batting for too long. I wonder if, had England had been set a gettable target of say, 350 they would have chased it and perished? Safety first from McCullum, odd given the series was up for grabs.

  • MB40 on March 26, 2013, 6:20 GMT

    Amazing luck from England, feel sorry for NZ - but perhaps luck was bound to come into play, since both sides had probably had victories denied by rain in the first and second Tests. Well done, Captain Cook's men, now let's see you do better hosting NZ in May.

  • Lmaotsetung on March 26, 2013, 6:16 GMT

    Throughout the day I kept thinking surely not Cardiff 2009 all over again. Well played NZ...here's to hoping to seeing a full strength Black Cap team for the return series.

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  • Lmaotsetung on March 26, 2013, 6:16 GMT

    Throughout the day I kept thinking surely not Cardiff 2009 all over again. Well played NZ...here's to hoping to seeing a full strength Black Cap team for the return series.

  • MB40 on March 26, 2013, 6:20 GMT

    Amazing luck from England, feel sorry for NZ - but perhaps luck was bound to come into play, since both sides had probably had victories denied by rain in the first and second Tests. Well done, Captain Cook's men, now let's see you do better hosting NZ in May.

  • jhaunton on March 26, 2013, 6:40 GMT

    Fascinating test anad series. Moral victory to NZ in Dunedin followed by the same to England in Wellington. Then this test, two bad calls (in hindsight I admit) by the captains - first Cook inserting NZ (under blue skies - bat first, if cloudy and the pitch is green - think about it - and then bat first) and the n McCullum not enforcing the follow on. That second error compunded by batting for too long. I wonder if, had England had been set a gettable target of say, 350 they would have chased it and perished? Safety first from McCullum, odd given the series was up for grabs.

  • Lithium11 on March 26, 2013, 6:48 GMT

    Brilliant game to watch and, while I'm a gutted Kiwi, I enjoyed every moment of it. The series was much more even than I had hoped. Some promising signs for NZ Cricket at last! Cheers England see you in your own backyard soon :)

  • 22many on March 26, 2013, 7:52 GMT

    my moment was when McCullum was batting....he was waiting out in the middle for the next batter to come out and they sent the water boy out to say "mate no one is coming as it is time to declare"...never seen that before....maybe he wanted a hundred as well!

  • MWaqqar on March 26, 2013, 8:57 GMT

    Dravid Laxman Kolkata test has changed the thinking of captains about enforcing follow on. This test was again proof follow on should be enforced. If Baz had enforced follow on it would have been a NZ victory.

  • SurlyCynic on March 26, 2013, 9:04 GMT

    Can't believe that Bell gave his wicket away like that. He was given every chance to save England, playing and missing, being dropped in the slips. Yet then plays an unnecessary shot just before tea. He should say a big thankyou to Prior, Broad and Monty. As usual, he bottled it when the heat was on.

    When Bell came into the team it was clear he had talent, but not sure he had the mental strength. Sadly, Shane Warne was proved correct and Bell's career has gone nowhere because of moments like this.

  • bipulkumar on March 26, 2013, 9:05 GMT

    The draw was even closure considering that Monty got to bat 5 deliveries.

  • Patchmaster on March 26, 2013, 9:11 GMT

    Wonderful game, wish McCullum had declared earlier, I think he'll regret it for a long time to come. Three more over might have done it.

  • nlpdave on March 26, 2013, 10:30 GMT

    NZ performed much as they usually do with the ball, dangerous when there is a little movement and flat when it's absent. England have the same problem. Martin bowled well earlier but perhaps his initial success was due to unfamiliarity, he has a lot to do to get to the level of Swann. As for the UK series I still expect NZ seam attack to be threatening but English pitches are different and the (still limited) England attack will probably be more successful. The gap in batting class and depth will probably be enough to secure an England win on home soil even without KP or Swann. If the latter is still absent the best choice by far would Tredwell. Fulton's technique will not help him on English soil.