Plunkett shines in dull draw
England Lions 278 (Batty 66, Moore 59, McClenaghan 5-36, Shaw 3-71) and 86 for 2 (Trott 41*, Patel 41*) drew with New Zealand Emerging Players 277 (Hay 60*, Brodie 57, Plunkett 4-76, Mahmood 3-58)
Two fast bowlers searching for a national recall, Liam Plunkett and Sajid Mahmood, shared seven wickets as New Zealand Emerging Players were dismissed one short of the England Lions' total in the drawn two-day match at the Bert Sutcliffe Oval.
Mahmood provided the first breakthrough, getting rid of the home side captain Tim McIntosh, who stitched together 59 with Josh Brodie. Plunkett then took over, slicing through the top and middle order as the hosts slipped to 172 for 5 from 108 for 1. The top four batsmen got starts, all of them crossing 20, but only Brodie went on to make a half-century before falling for 57. A quick, unbeaten 60 from Central Districts' Greg Hay held the lower order together but Mahmood took a couple of quick wickets and effected a run-out to end the innings on 277.
England Lions lost two wickets cheaply in their second innings but Jonathan Trott and Samit Patel made attacking 40s to take their side through to the end of the match.
Their captain Rob Key was pleased with the side's performance, particularly that of Plunkett and Mahmood, neither of whom have played for England in nearly two years. "When they had played for England, neither of them had played much senior cricket and they have a lot more guile and experience now and have started very well on this tour," he told PA Sport. "They were able to adjust to the conditions nicely. The pitch was a bit flat when we bowled and required a different length so it was very encouraging for us."
The next assigment on the tour for the England Lions is the first Test against New Zealand A starting Sunday in Queenstown.