England bat out final day to draw first Test against New Zealand

Last Updated: 10/03/13 9:28am

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Sky Bet

A maiden Test half-century from nightwatchman Steven Finn helped England secure a draw in the series opener against New Zealand in Dunedin.

Having been sent in late on the fourth evening following the loss of skipper Alastair Cook, Finn batted for just shy of five hours and faced 203 deliveries for his 56 runs.

His efforts, along with a fluent 50 from Jonathan Trott, meant England reached 421-6 by the time stumps were drawn around an hour before the scheduled close.

Neil Wagner did his best to keep New Zealand in the hunt during the final day, picking up 3-141, including removing an out-of-sorts Kevin Pietersen for 12 in the afternoon session, as he finished with seven wickets in the match.

However, such was the flat nature of the pitch, combined with the loss of the entire first day to rain, there was little more the Kiwis could do to force a positive outcome.

Finn demonstrated just how docile the surface was by making a career-best score, surpassing his previous high of 32 in first-class cricket. He reached his 50 with five boundaries, nearly all of them to the third man fence, before rather sheepishly raising his bat to his team-mates.

From then on he went into his shell, including a spell of 50 balls where he failed to muster a single run. Stuck in a rut, he finally perished early on the final session when trapped lbw trying to sweep the left-arm spin of Bruce Martin.

No panic

Even with the run out of Joe Root in the next over England did not panic, though. Ian Bell and Matt Prior made 26 and 23 not out respectively to see the visitors to a lead of 128 and with time running out, New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum decided to shake hands at the final drinks break.

Nick Compton had been the first of just five wickets to fall during the day, the opener departing for 117 when he was trapped leg before by an inswinger from the impressive Wagner.

The same bowler also accounted for Trott, who hit eight fours in his knock of 52 before offering a return catch, ending a third-wicket alliance worth 90 with Finn.

Pietersen too perished to left-armer Wagner, offering a simple edge to wicketkeeper BJ Watling to end a laboured innings that saw him seemingly troubled by a problem with his right knee.

His form, and fitness, will be England's major worry as they head to Wellington for the second Test. Both sides will be hoping to find a pitch offering a little more help, though the Black Caps' three well-worked seamers have little time to rest before the match gets underway on Thursday.

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