Bowled Over – England settle for draw – By Luqman Liaqat

England had to settle for a draw in the second after the fifth day at Wellington was completely washed out.

The three lions dominated the match throughout and had the hosts following on but heavy rain ultimately saved them from defeat.

New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum was left to rue his decision of bowling first on day one of the second test in Wellington.

The day commenced well for the hosts when Neil Wagner struck in only the eleventh over dismissing Alaistair Cook for 17 as he chipped a full delivery straight to Peter Fulton at mid-on. It was a rare failure for the England skipper playing a miss-timed shot.

Nick Compton and Jonathon Trott were untroubled despite the best efforts of left-arm spinner Bruce Martin. The pair put on a stand of 210, Trott was the first to reach his ton bringing it up off 174 balls hitting 14 fours in the process. Compton was stranded in the nineties again and reached his century from 224 balls.

Compton failed to add more runs to his innings after reaching his century as he was caught at second slip by Ross Taylor off Martin leaving the score at 236-2.

Kevin Pietersen(18) and Trott (121) saw off the new ball with ease taking England to 267 at the close with the loss two wickets.

Trott fell early in the morning session of day two, edging Trent Boult behind to wicket-keeper BJ Watling. Ian Bell (11) and Joe Root (10) both failed to make any impression as Martin struck twice in quick succession leaving the tourists on 325-5.

Pietersen brought up his fifty from 112 balls and he then departed for 73 when he skied Martin (4-130) straight down to Fulton at mid-off who claimed his fourth wicket, Stuart Broad came and went for only six to leave England 374-7.

Matt Prior and Steve Finn put on a stand of 83 for the 8th wicket, Prior hammered Wagner for two straight sixes. Finn fell for 24 hitting Wagner to extra-cover, Prior scored a super innings of 82 off just 99 balls before reverse-sweeping Kane Williamson to short third-man and Monty Panesar edged the same bowler to slip as the innings ended on 465 at tea.

In the final session, James Anderson struck first when Fulton was snapped up by Cook for just one. New Zealand’s attempt to rebuild didn’t last long as Broad claimed two wickets in two deliveries. Hamish Rutherford found Cook at first slip and Taylor was clean-bowled for a golden duck leaving the hosts in deep trouble at stumps on 66-3 and still trailing by 399 runs.

Resuming on day three, New Zealand lost Williamson (42) and Doug Brownlie (18) in the first two overs of the morning session.

Skipper McCullum (69) and Watling (60) put together a partnership of 100 runs at either side of the lunch break. Finn made the breakthrough dismissing McCullum as Trott held onto a catch at second slip and Tim Southee hooked one straight to fine-leg.

Broad was wicket-less during the test series against India before Christmas and on this occasion he ripped through the Black Caps tail as he claimed figures of 51-6 and the innings folded on 254.

England enforced the follow-on in the final session as New Zealand still trailed by 211. The hosts lost Rutherford early again in their second innings as he fell to Panesar, Fulton with 41 and Williamson on 16 played out the remainder of the day taking them to 77-1 and still 134 runs behind.

Anderson made the breakthrough on day four, Fulton was caught at slip by Cook for 45 to end his stand of 56 with Williamson. On a deteriorating pitch, Taylor (41 not out) and Williamson (55 not out) dug in to share an unbroken partnership of 81 for the third wicket.

The pair looked set in the morning session, however after lunch the rain came down and only six overs were possible for the rest of day meaning New Zealand finished on 162-2 following-on with a deficit of 49 runs.

With only 35 overs possible on day four and more adverse weather conditions completely washed away the fifth day as England’s chance of taking a 1-0 lead in 3-match test series ended.

After two draws from the opening two tests, the final contest starting on Friday in Auckland is now a winner-takes all-encounter.

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