It all felt a bit pointless at lovely Seddon on the final day of England’s much talked about tour to New Zealand, and really, it amounted to cricket that was nothing more than an addition to some already world-class batting figures.
Kane and Ross both brought up centuries. For the skipper, his 21st time going over three figures, and for Ross the local Hamiltonian, 19 times he has now reached a Test century.
When the rain came just after lunch, to say the mood was one of relief would be an understatement. Whilst New Zealand had a lead of 140-runs, this game was always going to end in a draw. To even get a result, Williamson would’ve had to declare and bowl England out, by taking ten wickets, in little under two sessions.
In other words, unlikely and potentially even implausible. Shortly before 4:00pm, the two captains shook hands and ended the match a draw.
Many on social media said that the towel should’ve been thrown in much earlier, and in all honesty, it’s hard to argue with that.
Hell, even the prospect of free entry didn’t bring in punters, day five being by far the emptiest crowd of the Test. Given how the match was headed, again, no surprises there.
While the debate how Test cricket and its entertainment factor will rage on long after today, Williamson and Taylor tried to make it interesting during their dig, putting the balls that deserved to be hit away from some glorious boundaries and the occasional maximum.
All told, the result gives New Zealand the series win. It took New Zealand 54-years for their first home series win over England, and a further 34-years for the second, but under captain Kane the New Zealanders have won the last two home series in as many years.
New Zealand will fly out to Australia ahead of their historic tour on Saturday, and from their perspective, there is a lot to reflect on during that particular flight. Namely, the current form of Jeet Raval who is struggling at the minute, but yet it seems highly implausible that selectors would make a change ahead of Perth.
If that is to be a possibility, however, they’d not gamble of moving Daryl Mitchell up the order given he’s reasonably fresh in the squad and is just finding his feet, albeit impressive.
Perhaps a Martin Guptill? Well, he hasn’t any long-form cricket recently either. All that’s left is Tom Blundell.
New Zealand coach Gary Stead confirmed that Raval will travel to Australia, and that the team has confidence in the left-hander returning to good form.
“Jeet didn’t have a strong series but we’ve got confidence in him as an opening batsman, he hits a good number of balls and we are confident he can get us underway in the way we want in Australia”, Stead said.
“We have batting cover in the squad, first class cricket is done so there is nothing for him to go back there for. Jeet has an average in the mid 30’s, it’s tough to open in Test cricket. We have Tom (Blundell) and if he was to come into the squad, that position is where we would look”.
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