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March 10, 2009
England Lions 346 (Patel 64, Wright 69, Batty 64, Mahmood 52, Thompson 4-98) and 353 for 9 dec (Wright 105, Trott 51) drew with New Zealand A 243 (Young 71, Thompson 60, Davis 4-47) and 393 for 9 (Robertson 107, Young 59, Redmond 55)
England came within one wicket of winning the two-match series against New Zealand A but faced formidable resistance from Iain Robertson, who scored an unbeaten century, and had to settle for a draw on the final day at the Bert Sutcliffe Oval. Chasing an improbable target of 457, New Zealand began the day with nine wickets in hand an ended it on 393 for 9.
The irony was that Robertson wasn't even supposed to bat. He was New Zealand A's 12th man but, because Ewen Thompson - who was called up to the national squad for the Hamilton ODI against India - was unavailable, the teams agreed to let Robertson, a specialist batsman, take the place of a bowling allrounder. Robertson replaced Thompson on the third day and grabbed his chance, remaining unbeaten on 107 off 148 balls when the match ended.
The England Lions' attack put in a creditable performance to reduce New Zealand to such a position because the pitch was easing out and a heavy wind hindered the bowlers in their run-ups.
New Zealand made a steady start to the day, moving from 72 for 1 to 107, before Liam Plunkett trapped Aaron Redmond lbw. Plunkett struck again four overs later, dismissing Daniel Flynn for 45. Peter Fulton and Kane Williamson added 87 runs for the fourth wicket but the host's recovery was dented by Sajid Mahmood, who struck twice in quick succession. New Zealand also lost Peter Fulton before Robertson was joined by Reece Young for a 147-run stand.
However, England finally broke that stand and Mahmood and Jonathan Trott removed Nos. 9 and 10 quickly, leaving Robertson and Chris Martin, who is notorious for his ineptness with the bat, to negotiate 20 deliveries. Martin faced eight of those to secure a draw for his team.
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