3rd Test, Auckland, Mar 22-26 2013, England tour of New Zealand
443 & 241/6d
(143 ov, target 481)
204 & 315/9
Match drawn
• The Report by George Dobell

Prior helps England hold on for heart-stopping draw

It may not have been pretty, it may not have been assured and it may have owed rather more to fortune than they would have liked, but England's last pair somehow clung on to seal a draw on the final day of the Test series against New Zealand in Auckland

Match centre 
Scorer: S Balasubramanian
Commentator: Abhishek Purohit
Scorecard summary
New Zealand443(152.3 overs)1st Innings
Peter Fulton136 (346)
Steven Finn6/125(37.3)
England204(89.2 overs)1st Innings
Matt Prior*73 (130)
Joe Root45 (176)
Trent Boult6/68(25)
Tim Southee3/44(23.2)
New Zealand241/6d(57.2 overs)2nd Innings
England315/9(143 overs)2nd Innings
Matt Prior*110 (182)
Ian Bell75 (271)
end of over 1431 runs
ENG: 315/9CRR: 2.2 
Matt Prior110 (182)
Monty Panesar2 (5)
Trent Boult29-13-55-1
Kane Williamson20-8-44-4

That will be it from one of the finest Test matches in recent memory. Abhishek Purohit signing off, cheers, Test cricket lovers.

The series trophy is handed to both the captains, and that concludes the presentation, without naming any Player of the Series or Match.

Presentation on, and Alastair Cook is called up first as visiting captain. Cook: "Huge relief. We have had to fight. NZ outplayed us over five days. Our never say die attitude, we have proved a hard side to beat. At no stage did we underestimate NZ. We did not play as well as we would have liked, but that takes nothing away from NZ, who put us under huge pressure. I see Monty in those situations, I would not want any one else there. I have had four of these last ball escapes now. To have the support we have with the Barmy Army is fantastic."

Brendon McCullum: "Mixed emotions. Incredibly proud of the boys. We have absorbed pressure and put it on a very good England side. Pretty much tried everything, we came up against some of the best players in the world. We gave it everything, wonderful Test and series. Performances we put in this series we are treading in the right direction. We are not the finished product, long way to go. Peter Fulton, outstanding in this match. Lovely story, absolutely delighted. Fought his way back to international cricket, against one of the best sides in the world."

What a Test match. The opponents are moved enough to embrace, Southee and Prior, then Monty, the Barmy Army sings on and on, Southee pats Prior on the back one final time. Prior walks into the embrace of Stuart Broad, Ian Bell, Jimmy Anderson, Graham Gooch, all hug the saviour

New Zealand do not win too many Test matches, especially against big sides like England. They deserved to win today, it was that one drop, by Brownlie off Ian Bell. Bell batted another session after that reprieve, and Prior took over. But from England apparently just having to turn up to win 3-0, to having to depend on No 11 to avoid a series defeat, New Zealand have shown what they can do.

Kane Williamson's young voice cracks: "Gutted. The boys tried really hard. Good effort across all three matches, but at the moment we are not looking at that."

Tim Southee: "I do not know what the right word is, but we are gutted. To fight so hard for five days and come so close, bit of luck would have been nice, we bowled our heart out and created chances. Prior played one hell of an innings, along with Bell earlier."

Matt Prior: I am not really one to celebrate draws but this was a phenomenal effort. First innings was disappointing. To get to the line is unbelievable. We had to bat 90 overs, the wicket was good, only going to get slower, you don't want to be blocking everything, you want to play your shots. Broad and I have had some good partnerships in the past and we know how to get each other coming. He has worked hard with Andy Flower on his batting and this shows that has paid off. I backed Monty all the way. You want to stay relaxed, but it is hard to."


Jules: "Dear NZ fans, I know sympathy is not what you wanted (especially from an Aussie), but you're team has almost won more respect through this than if that bail had fallen off and they'd won. Well done."

Isaac: "I was fairly convinced we (England) wouldn't do it today, but cricinfo mentioned Faf's epic innings at the start of the day and that gave me hope. I've been up all night and although my sleep pattern is now ruined, I'm thankful to New Zealand and England for giving us a great Test match."

Karl: "Well played England, especially Prior and Bell, phenomenal displays of concentration and determination. But what kept NZ from a win (besides the chances) was a really poor performance from Bruce Martin - 65 overs in the match for no wickets, and outbowled on a 5th day pitch by Williamson's part-time offspin. Not good enough."

John: "The best thing about this game is that we never have to have another discussion about the relative virtues of Test and T20 cricket. We can just point to this game and say "Tests are better" and leave it at that."

Boult to Prior, no run
that is it, Prior defends a pitched up ball and raises his arms as Monty sprints across to hug him

Last ball, it has come down to this, McCullum hobbles across for one last chat with his bowler

Boult to Prior, no run
good length, the might of Matt Prior behind it to defend
Boult to Prior, no run
leg side from round the stumps, and it is clipped wide into open space at deep square

The Barmy Army like that, they really do

Boult to Panesar, 1 run
Monty has done it, he is off strike, Boult has given him a full toss outside off, and a push has rolled and stopped at deep mid off
Boult to Panesar, no run
back of a length, Monty hangs the bat inside the line as it bounces past

Prior walks up to sound some encouragement

Boult to Panesar, no run
almost the outside edge, Monty pushes forward and the length ball beats him

Six balls, one wicket, Monty on strike. Who will it be? It is Trent Boult. Another long discussion between the batsmen, Monty, all grace under pressure, smiles

Prem: "This is it. I need new nails."

Amir: "God, I know you're watching...I'd just like to say THANK YOU!!!"

end of over 1421 runs
ENG: 314/9CRR: 2.21 
Matt Prior110 (179)
Monty Panesar1 (2)
Kane Williamson20-8-44-4
Trent Boult28-13-54-1
Williamson to Prior, no run
no, they cannot get the single, Prior flashes the cut straight to backward point, insane cool under pressure from young Williamson
Williamson to Prior, no run
fired in to the pads, midwicket scrambles and dives, could they have risked the run meanwhile, not with Monty's running, I guess

McCullum has a chat with KW, field set to prevent the single, just one slip in

Williamson to Prior, no run
another straighter one, Prior lets it come on and defends
Williamson to Prior, no run
straighter one now from KW, Prior across to defend

How did it get so close? how on earth?

Williamson to Prior, no run
spinning in from outside off, blocked

What a wasted chance for NZ

Williamson to Panesar, 1 run
Monty is off strike, somehow, a punch past gully, Prior is home early, Monty is struggling, he dives, he slides, the throw misses

Monty in the firing line, before that, he gets a long lecture from Prior

end of over 1419 runs
ENG: 313/9CRR: 2.21 
Matt Prior110 (174)
Monty Panesar0 (1)
Trent Boult28-13-54-1
Kane Williamson19-8-43-4
Boult to Prior, FOUR runs
he hits the gap, opens the face, but he has timed it too well and it rolls into the third man rope
Boult to Prior, no run
this time he shoulders arms right away to a length ball

Has to find the single somehow

Boult to Prior, FOUR runs
and now Prior nearly plays on, shuffles across to a length ball and the inside edge flies between him and leg stump,

Mithun: "Start the press!! Stop the press!!! Start the....Forget it. Its still on....I absolutely love Test cricket"

Boult to Prior, no run
length outside off, Prior lets it pass
Boult to Prior, 1 no ball
high full toss, and called a no ball
Boult to Prior, no run
slower length ball angled in, Prior across to block
Best performances - batsmen
PG Fulton
136 runs (346)
15 fours
3 sixes
Productive shot
leg glance
39 runs
4 fours
0 sixes
MJ Prior
110 runs (182)
20 fours
0 sixes
Productive shot
pull/hook on back foot
28 runs
6 fours
0 sixes
Best performances - bowlers
TA Boult
ST Finn
Match details
Eden Park, Auckland
TossEngland , elected to field first
SeriesEngland tour of New Zealand
Series result3-match series drawn 0-0
Match numberTest no. 2084
Hours of play (local time)10.30am start, Lunch 12.30-13.10, Tea 15.10-15.30, Close 17.30
Match days22,23,24,25,26 March 2013 (5-day match)
Rod Tucker
Paul Reiffel
TV Umpire
Steve Davis
Reserve Umpire
Derek Walker
Match Referee
Roshan Mahanama