<
>

McCullum 'proud' as NZ stay true to their style

BJ Watling and Kane Williamson celebrate Getty Images

Brendon McCullum was delighted with the way his team had stayed true to their attacking instincts in levelling the Investec series against England with only their fifth Test victory in the country. He said that a drawn series was a "fair result" but admitted it would have been nice for it not to be ending after two absorbing contests.

New Zealand wrapped up a 199-run victory shortly before the final hour was due to begin when Jos Buttler padded up to Mark Craig. The spinners played a key part in the victory push as Craig and Kane Williamson shared six wickets between them on a pitch offering some assistance.

The visitors were ahead in the first Test for three days at Lord's before England produced a notable turnaround, but they did not let their heads drop and came out all guns blazing on the opening day at Headingley as they cantered along at more than four-and-a-half an over, something they repeated in their second innings

"I'm really proud of this win, sometimes it's not easy when you lose the first Test match when you think you've played all right, to have that resolve to bounce back and stay true to your game," McCullum said. "That's what we did and we were able to beat what we think is a very, very good England team in their own conditions."

New Zealand were 2 for 2 after being put into bat on the first day and then England were 215 for 1 before Adam Lyth's run out changed the complexion of the match. Although the home side clawed themselves level on first innings, McCullum was always confident when they had been kept within sight.

"We were behind in the game but the beauty of batting first is that you have the ability to play from in front. We had to try to hang in and we knew if we were able to get ourselves back to parity then we would be bowling last would be quite handy.

"England are a very good team and to beat them in their conditions is no easy feat, credit to Alastair and his team - I thought the series was played in tremendous spirit, 1-1 is a fair result and it is just a shame we haven't got another one or two."

McCullum played down his Midas touch as captain after Williamson made regular inroads on the final day, twice striking in first overs of spells to remove Ben Stokes and Alastair Cook, while Ian Bell was caught at leg slip straight after the fielder had been brought into that position.

"There's instinct and then there's pure gambling," he said. "Kane has a bit of knack, if he's had a quiet Test we can be pretty sure he'll get involved somehow. He played such a crucial role, 3 for 15 on the last day of a Test as a part-time spinner, he allowed the other guys to settle into their work."