Northamptonshire 214 for 9 dec and 85 for 2 (Peters 52) drew with New Zealanders 363 and 317 for 7 dec (Taylor 150ret, Hopkins 63, Wigley 4-77)
Ross Taylor continued his fine form with 150 against Northamptonshire as the New Zealanders opted for batting practice on the final day at Wantage Road. After the home side declared yesterday afternoon there was the prospect of a run-chase being set up, but that clearly wasn't on the agenda when the New Zealanders batted on after lunch with the lead already at 328.
Taylor made the most of the extended time in the middle, hitting 17 fours and six sixes in his 154-ball innings. It followed his unbeaten 154 at Old Trafford, an electric knock which put his team in control on the first two days. He took 14 off an over from Jason Brown, and his main problem was when David Wigley hit him in the groin, cracking his box.
However, while Taylor's form is a plus for the tourists there remain two batting concerns heading into the final Test. James Marshall again fell cheaply on the second evening, and that was followed today by another failure for Daniel Flynn, who gave Wigley his ninth wicket of the match with a bottom edge onto leg stump.
Flynn faced just 12 balls in the match on his return to the middle after losing two teeth against a James Anderson bouncer at Old Trafford. His confidence appears to have taken a knock and the New Zealand may consider leaving him out of the final Test. If that is the case, Peter Fulton would be drafted in, but that would still leave an out-of-form Marshall at No. 3.
Gareth Hopkins, the reserve wicketkeeper, made 63 off 97 balls, albeit in comfortable conditions after the early threat of a collapse had been banished by a 125-run stand between Taylor and Brendon McCullum.
Taylor finally decided he'd had enough time at the crease when he reached 150 and McCullum belatedly declared when Hopkins fell to Andrew Crook. Northamptonshire batted out 20 overs, Stephen Peters cracking a brisk 52, as Tim Southee and Kyle Mills bagged a wicket apiece.