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Third Test: England hero Matt Prior delighted with fightback to draw in Auckland

Matt Prior: Delighted with England's final-day heroics

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Matt Prior hailed a "phenomenal effort" from England as the tourists saved the series against New Zealand in dramatic fashion.

Few had given England hope of escaping with a draw in Auckland as they went into the final day on 90-4.

Rearguard effort saves England

However England dug in brilliantly to frustrate New Zealand, while a late double strike from Kane Williamson wasn't enough.

Prior's sensational 110 not out, plus 75 from Ian Bell and defensive cameos from Stuart Broad and Monty Panesar saw England to 315-9 at stumps.

And Prior was clearly delighted after seeing his side to the unlikeliest of draws.

"It is still setting in to be honest," said Prior.

"I am not really one to celebrate draws but to escape with that was a phenomenal effort.


"It was a phenomenal team and batting effort from the first innings being pretty disappointing. Belly going in there and facing near on 300 balls and Rooty starting off this morning was fantastic. To get over the line was unbelievable."

Prior's stroke of luck

Prior shared a crucial partnership of 67 with Broad to take England to the brink of safety. Broad had faced 62 balls and been at the crease for 103 minutes before scoring his first runs.

And Prior was full of praise of Broad, saying: "Broady and I have had some really good partnerships in the past and we are best mates off the pitch so we know how to get each other going. What a phenomenal effort from him."

Broad and Anderson fell late in the day as Williamson threatened to turn the match on its head - however Prior and Panesar survived a tricky final three overs to see England to the close.

"I was backing Monty the whole time," added Prior. "I had to wake him up first as I think he had been sleeping but Monty was good. It was a massive four balls that he faced at the end."

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