Andrew Alderson

Andrew Alderson is a sport writer for the Herald on Sunday.

First test ends in draw

The first test between New Zealand and England has been drawn.

The England innings finished at 421 for six. The visitors had a lead of 128 when both captains agreed to call play off at 4.45pm.

New Zealand had a glimpse of victory early in the final session when England moved from 386 for four to 390 for six thanks to Bruce Martin trapping Steve Finn lbw for 56 and Tim Southee running out Joe Root for a duck through a direct hit from the covers. Finn's nightwatchman vigil lasted 284 minutes and 203 balls.

A spirited Neil Wagner bowling spell also gleaned two hard-earned wickets in the penultimate session but the match looked headed towards a draw after the first session of the final day.

Earlier first time century-maker Nick Compton went lbw Wagner for 117. Wagner backed up with a spell of eight overs, two wickets for 20 runs after lunch. He surprised Jonathan Trott with extra bounce to get him caught and bowled for 52 and had Kevin Pietersen caught behind for 12.

It was suitable reward for his tenacity. He finished with figures of three for 141 from 43 overs.

Finn made his first test half-century (previous highest score 19). He moved to 53 but took 50 further balls to add to his score. Finn blunted the New Zealand attack admirably on the benign pitch; he was scoreless overnight.

It led to speculation he might emulate the feat of fellow nightwatchman Alex Tudor who finished with his test best 99 not out when England beat New Zealand at Edgbaston in the first test of the 1999 series. Australian Jason Gillespie's 201 not out against Bangladesh in 2006 was probably a step too far.

Finn offered a couple of chances. He was dropped by Dean Brownlie diving to his left at third slip off Southee to end the first over of the day. The first ball of Kane Williamson's eighth over was also nicked low through the cordon.

University Oval was the scene for another outstanding nightwatchman effort last month when Otago's Nick Beard made 188 against Auckland.

- Herald on Sunday

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