New Zealand win to draw series

Starting the day on 44 without loss, hopes were high that England could bat out the scheduled 98 overs for the draw that would have seen them win the two-Test series after their victory at Lord???s last week, but they were eventually bowled out for 255 in the evening session.

However, if Alastair Cook???s side thought they had gone a long way to saving this Test after Monday afternoon???s heavy rain had seen two sessions wiped out, then they were quickly forced to reassess things in the morning session.

New Zealand, who knew their only chance of victory would be to take early wickets and make inroads into the home team???s long batting lineup, surprisingly opened up with off-spinner Mark Craig from one end, and not so surprisingly Trent Boult from the other.

And it did not take long for the left-arm seamer to make the first breakthrough as England opener Adam Lyth was once again forced into playing at one outside his off-stump that on second viewing he will wish he had left, with Luke Ronchi doing the rest behind the stumps.

That setback left England on 47-1, and Boult was soon at it again as the paceman castled Gary Ballance in now familiar fashion, with the Yorkshire left-hander caught deep his crease to a full ball as the hosts slipped to 61-2.

Worse was to quickly follow for England as they lost two wickets in quick succession to Craig, first as Ian Bell???s miserable form with the bat continued, with the right-hander glancing a ball off his legs straight to a waiting Kane Williamson placed at leg-slip exactly for such a shot.

Two deliveries later and in-form England batsman Joe Root was also on his way, although in truly freakish fashion as the right-hander tucked a short ball from Craig off his hips, only to turn in horror to see Tom Latham celebrating at short-leg.

Somehow the ball had lodged in the New Zealand fielder???s midriff as England had lost three wickets for just one run, with that dismissal also completing a miserable match for Root, who has made just one run in this Test in front of his home fans.

The pressure was now well and truly on England, but in resolute opener Cook and all-rounder Ben Stokes they found two batsmen with the technique and temperament to halt New Zealand???s charge to victory, at least in the period up to the lunch interval.

However, that was until just before the break when Stokes cut loosely at the occasional off-spin of Williamson to leave Cook and Co facing an uphill struggle to save the Test, and things did not go much better for them after the interval as they lost three more wickets

Cook and wicketkeeper Jos Buttler initially resisted the tourists??? bowlers, with the England captain firstly moving past his fifty off a mammoth 158 balls, before then cutting Craig to the boundary to bring up 9,000 Test runs.

And what is more, the left-handed batsman also became the fastest player ever to reach that landmark, even beating India legend Sachin Tendulkar in the process.

However, that was the only bright spot as far as Cook and his team were concerned in the afternoon session as soon after part-time spinner Williamson trapped the skipper leg-before after cleverly being reintroduced into the attack by his New Zealand counterpart Brendon McCullum.

Cook reviewed the decision, but more in hope than any real expectation of having it overturned, with TV replays confirming umpire S Ravi???s initial decision as England slumped to 141-6.

That soon became 153-7 when Moeen Ali shouldered arms to Matt Henry – having his first bowl of the day – while at the other end Buttler remained defiant, mixing stout defence with the odd attacking foray, despite the Somerset stumper taking a nasty blow on the hands from a vicious Henry lifter.

New man Broad knew only one way to play, with the left-hander also soon on his way back to the pavilion after a bright and breezy 23, another victim to Williamson???s occasional off-spin after chopping on to his stumps.

Thereafter it was just a matter of time before England???s brave resistance came to an end, with the tourists having more than 30 overs after tea in which to take the final two wickets, as well as a new ball available shortly into the evening session.

It was the taking of the new cherry that saw off Mark Wood???s stout 40-ball stay at the crease as Tim Southee claimed his first wicket of the innings by pitching one up to the Durham man, with the ever-reliable Craig making no mistake at second slip.

And it was not long before Buttler was the last man out, playing no shot to Craig to fall leg-before for a valiant 73, the off-spinner???s third wicket of the day, while his fellow tweaker Williamson also snared three victims.

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