Zeenews Sports Bureau
Dunedin: After a rained out first day and an action packed second, that saw England get dismissed for a meagre 167 and the Kiwi openers dominate the proceedings after that, the first Test match between hosts New Zealand and the visiting English team looked all set to deliver a stunning result. But a strong second innings batting display by the British team means they hang on to a precious draw.
After the Kiwi first innings wrapped up at a more-than-respectable 460, 293 runs ahead, the onus was on the English openers to put up a strong start. And they sure did deliver, owning day 4 as the pair put on a formidable 231-run opening stand with Cook and Compton both grinding out centuries and earning England the opportunity to draw this match.
Finn, who was sent in last evening as a night-watchman after Cook got out late on, stuck to the tasks he`d set himself - play out the next day as well. After Compton got out at 265, having scored 117, one run more than Cook, Trott joined Finn at the crease to plod it out.
Even as Trott reached his 50 and the partnership reached 90 runs, his vigil was cut short by Wagner and star batsman Kevin Pietersen walked in to join the impressively dogged Finn.
In a tricky period around tea, Finn was dismissed for 56, lbw to Martin, either side of Pietersen`s and Root`s wickets. There seemed to be a glimmer of hope for the Black Caps as Bell and Prior got together for the last session of the match.
But no further wickets fell and the two captains shook hands on a draw with a now meaningless hour of play left. England ended at 421/6 in a more characteristically strong performance in the second innings.
New Zealand will feel like they`ve failed to win from a strong position, but they can take back plenty of positives from the match. For one, their bowlers are giving the English batsmen quite some trouble. For another, the Kiwi batting line-up, traditionally an area for concern, seems to be clicking, even if debutant Rutherford had a big hand in that this time around.
The three-match series remains level at 0-0 after one Test and now the focus will shift to Wellington where the second Test begins on March 14.