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England got a fright of their lives as New Zealand kept piling runs and reached a mammoth score of 460 for 9 wickets against their wimpy first innings score of 167 after being pummeled by Wagner and Martin who took four wickets apiece to knock their stuffing out in a merciless and surgical manner.
England vs New Zealand 2nd Test Live
However, English players had other ideas and were eager and determined to wipe off the insults of first innings just as a nightmare that melts away with the advent of first rays of dawn. In the second innings they were a transformed lot as they came out with steely determination and Compton slammed 117 with Cook falling short by just one run as he notched up 116.
But the biggest and pleasantest surprise came in the form of Steve Finn who strode in a night watchman and saw through the day for the English team. Had it not been for his totally unexpected and surely heroic resistance, England would have definitely hurled into an innings defeat in this Test match. Steve Finn must have been equally surprised himself as he scored his maiden half century in Tests in the process.
But New Zealanders also must be given their due share of credit as they never gave up the quest for that elusive victory as English players kept holding on grimly as if their lives depended on their stay in the batting crease. McCullum, the captain of New Zealand team kept on trying till the drinks came out before the final hour.
Pacers of New Zealand also had very big hearts as they kept on hurling over after over of torrid pace on a completely docile and unresponsive pitch. Their application and hard work surely broke the hearts of new Zealand fans as they witnessed so much hard work going down the drain in front of resolute resistance from English team and complete lack of assistance from a ‘concrete’ patch of a pitch.
It surely is a point that cricket administrators and pitch curators should ponder upon. If deadpan pitches produce such boring Test matches as this one it would not be a surprise if spectator interest takes a nose dive for this genre of cricket.
However, one expects this logjam to dissolve on Auckland pitch when the second Test commences on 14th March. The pitch at Auckland should provide more assistance to both bowlers and batsmen and it should turn out to be a more absorbing tussle between the cherry and the willow and, of course, guiles of two rival captains.
It would genuinely be an interesting scenario with New Zealand batsmen having gained truck loads of confidence from their performance in the first Test and bowlers also sufficiently perked up after having actually demolishing England on this deadpan pitch for meager total. The onus would now be squarely on English bowlers to prove their mettle which they could not do in first encounter as New Zealand executed them without any remorse in the only innings they batted.