Matt Prior’s heroics on the fifth day of the third and final test against New Zealand helped the visitors earn a draw and to end the three test match series 0-0. There was a lot of drama in the final session as the hosts needed just one wicket to wrap up the series 1-0. However, Monty Panesar and Prior defied all odds to bravely face the balls to force a draw. The first two tests had already been drawn and New Zealand looked likely winner of the final test.
The final day started with England with 90 runs on board having lost 4 wickets. Ian Bell was not out at 8 runs. He played sensibly and developed partnership with Root who was at naught at the start of the day. The pair added 60 more runs to the team’s total. Root scored 29 runs and was lbw by Boult. Bairstow was next to follow at 159 runs. With 6 wickets down, it was the turn of Matt Prior to come to crease. Under the given situation, Prior had a huge experience as he had been instrumental in the past to force the test match to draws. He along with Bell had a partnership of 78 runs and took the team’s total to 237 runs. At that time, a draw was the likely outcome of the test match. However, the situation changed when Bell got out by Wagner on 75. Prior then faced most of the balls and developed partnership of 67 runs with Broad. When the team’s total was 304 runs, Broad and Anderson got out by Williamson in the same over.
With 9 wickets down, the draw seemed like an uphill task as there were 19 balls still remaining in the final session of the test. However, both Panesar and Prior braved the remaining balls and forced the draw to the match as well as the series. Prior remained not out at 110. Panesar was involved in similar situations in the past as well, forcing draws against Australia in 2009 at Cardiff in Ashes. With the win, England retained the second spot in the test rankings. Cook applauded the kiwis for being the better team in the series. The scoreboard is as follows:
England 204 (Prior 73, Boult 6-68) and 315 for 9 (Prior 110*, Bell 75, Williamson 4-44) drew with New Zealand 443 (Fulton 136, Williamson 91, Finn 6-125) and 241 for 6 dec (Fulton 110, McCullum 67*)