Cricket: McCullum sticks by his declaration decision

By Andrew Alderson

Brendon McCullum's disappointment was balanced against Alastair Cook's relief in the aftermath of yesterday's test draw to complete a 0-0 series result.

Both skippers even entered the media conference in contrasting fashion. Cook strode while McCullum hobbled on a hamstring which he insists will be alright, despite the Indian Premier League starting in a week.

"I'll worry about that tomorrow. I hope I move better than in those last two sessions but I wanted to stay out and win a test for my country."

McCullum is thrilled with the cricket his team played over this test series and stuck by his decisions to declare midway through the middle session of the fourth day and not enforce the follow on.

"I made those calls with sound judgment. It gave our bowlers the best opportunity to rest. As the wicket started to slow they needed ample opportunity to rest up. The reason we declared as late as we did was because we felt it would still have a psychological impact to create opportunities before tea [on the fourth day].

"In the end we were still one ball away from winning a test and we walk away even. By no means are we the finished product but we're starting to perform as expected. We confronted one of the giants of world cricket.

"The top of the order has been such a problem for so long and Peter [Fulton] and Hamish [Rutherford] making hundreds made for a great story. The bowlers were also huge throughout."

McCullum's counterpart Cook spent the match immersed in superstition. He acknowledged the suggestion he was like an expectant father on the last day.

"I was pretty good for the majority. I watched 95 per cent but those last 19 balls I needed a running commentary from [fitness trainer] Huw Bevan and Jonathan Trott. There were a few oohs and aahs then expletives when Monty almost got run out. We had to sit and watch the replay and then started laughing.

"I sat in one place the whole day until we lost Broad. Then I moved because that position had clearly run out of luck."

There were also a few nerves when a delivery from Neil Wagner hit Matt Prior before ballooning up and hitting, but not dislodging, the bails.

"We weren't holding our breath because it was a long way out but at the end the tension was unbearable."

"Those twists and turns and half chances only added to the drama."

Read more:

Black Caps fall short of win
Test thriller jangles nerves
Bitter-tasting share of the honours

- NZ Herald

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