Image courtesy of: Zimbio
Ish Sodhi provided some much-needed heroics on the final day of the second Test in Christchurch as he scored an unbeaten 56 to help New Zealand end the match as a draw and deny England a series-levelling win.
Sodhi was well supported by Tom Latham and Colin de Grandhomme, who made 83 and 45 respectively, as New Zealand held on to secure their first-ever series win over England since 1999.
Starting off the day on 42/0, New Zealand lost opener Jeet Raval on the first ball of the day as he was caught by Mark Stoneman at midwicket off the bowling of Stuart Broad for 17.
Broad struck again the very next ball as New Zealand captain Kane Williamson was caught behind off for a golden duck.
Ross Taylor only made 13 before he became debutant Jack Leach’s first Test wicket, while Henry Nicholls also made 13 prior to being caught by Alastair Cook at first slip off the bowling of James Anderson.
Latham and wicketkeeper BJ Watling halted England’s charge with a 44-run partnership before Watling was removed by Mark Wood for 19.
Latham went on to score 83 off 207 balls, which included 10 boundaries, before he was caught by James Vince off the bowling of Leach.
Image courtesy of: Zimbio
De Grandhomme and Ish Sodhi stabilised the innings and edged New Zealand ever closer to safety with a 57-run partnership before De Grandhomme was sent packing by Wood for 45.
Sodhi and Neil Wagner continued to frustrate England, but even though England skipper Joe Root ended Wagner’s resistance, it was too late as the match came to an end as soon as Wagner was dismissed.
Sodhi remained undefeated on 56 off 168 balls, which included nine boundaries, as New Zealand finished on 256/8.
Broad, Wood and Leach took two wickets apiece, while Anderson and Root claimed one wicket each.
Root was gutted to have come so close to winning the match, and said: “Threw everything at NZ, very proud as a group and how we went about it, fair play to NZ. Bar that first innings [in Auckland] it has been very close, very frustrating that we let ourselves down.
“We’ve played some good cricket and showed what we’re about. [Long time away?] You get used to it as a Test cricketer, you want to play in big series and we’ve had the opportunity. Hasn’t gone as well as we’d liked. We’ll take the good stuff from this week into the summer.
“Thought this was a great advert for Test cricket. Shame [not to win], but that’s the way it is. Very proud of way we went about it, tried a number of things, few balls just out of reach and you need a bit of luck.”
Williamson was delighted to have hung on for the draw, and said: “Amazing day of Test cricket. First let me thank the England team, hard fought series and it was so close through these matches, for it to come down to a day like this, was really special for the format.
“We didn’t get off to the best start, first two balls we thought it could be a tough day. Lots of steel shown by the guys in the middle order and the two guys in the last session, phenomenal effort, England threw everything against us and they withstood it, an unbelievable effort.
“The bowling attack has been brilliant. Fantastic series, nice to be on the right side. Would have been nice to have a third Test, we’ve had some great games, lot of good white-ball games, so on the whole a good summer.”
New Zealand pace bowler Tim Southee was named Man of the Match, and said: “Bit better now after that, rough couple of days but worth it in the end. It’s come out nicely, good to get the whites on and see the ball move around a bit, good way to hose down the summer.
“[Boult?] We played a lot of cricket together, it’s a partnership we enjoy, pleasing to be able to contribute to a series win. [Beating England?] Very special, first time in a while, first time for us, something we’ll enjoy and savour for a long time.”