NZ vs ENG, 2nd Test, Review: Ish Sodhi and Wagner keep England at bay as hosts win the series

England bowlers tried hard but couldn't clean up the tail in the final session.

England team
England captain Joe Root reacts as batsman Ish Sodhi survives. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

New Zealand have battled out a sensational draw on the fifth and final day of the second Test against England in Christchurch. Ish Sodhi and Neil Wagner batted heroically for more than 30 overs and defied the visitors a much needed away Test victory only to win the series by 1-0. England bowlers tried every tactic against them but the duo was determined to not give their wicket away. However, New Zealand continued their strong record in Tests at home thereby winning yet another series.

The day started with England needing 10 wickets to win the match as the Kiwis also could’ve gone for a victory with 340 runs away. It started fantastically for the visitors as the first couple of deliveries bowled by Stuart Broad reaped the wickets of Jeet Raval and the skipper Kane Williamson. Ross Taylor then joined Tom Latham as they went into the shell aiming for a draw straight away. But the former was dismissed on 13 by the debutant Jack Leach.

Latham’s lone fight

Henry Nicholls couldn’t add more than 13 to the total as the home side was left reeling at 91/4 in the first hour of the day. However, BJ Watling and Latham then batted out time and stitched a crucial stand of 44 runs for the fifth wicket, but most importantly spent 20 overs in the middle after which Watling was scalped by Mark Wood. But Colin de Grandhomme followed his good job with the bat in the first innings and played patiently. However, Leach priced out a huge scalp of Latham who scored 83 off 207 balls.

Then came the defiance from Ish Sodhi and de Grandhomme who batted together for almost 26 overs even as England battled hard for wickets. The latter though was sent back into the hut soon in the final session by Wood on 45. But Sodhi was determined on not giving up and he got an able partner in Neil Wagner who just blocked and blocked and blocked.

It was a blockathon from them even as Sodhi reached his half-century which valued even more than a double century for New Zealand on the day. They batted for 31 overs with light also holding up to its best to give England a chance for victory. But they were up against the two of the most determined men who never gave up the hope. Just in the end, when only a couple of minutes were left to end the day’s play, Wagner was dismissed by skipper Joe Root but the wicket eventually finished the day.

New Zealand ended the day on 256/8 as the visitors were left helpless. Sodhi was the hero as he was given a standing ovation by the sparse crowd present at the Stadium. He remained unbeaten on 56 off 168 balls even as he credited Wagner for blocking a massive 103 deliveries for his 7 runs. While Tim Southee was named Man of the Match for his stupendous effort with the ball in the first innings, Trent Boult won the Man of the Series award who bagged 15 wickets in 2 Test matches.

Brief Scores

England: 307 all out  in 96.5 overs; Jonathan Bairstow 101, Mark Wood 52; Tim Southee 6/62, Trent Boult 4/87

New Zealand: 278 all out in 93.3 overs; BJ Watling 85, Colin de Grandhomme 72; Stuart Broad 6/54, James Anderson 4/76

England 352/9 dec in 106.4 overs; James Vince 76, Mark Stoneman 60; Colin de Grandhomme 4/94, Trent Boult 2/89

New Zealand 256/8 in 124.4 overs; Tom Latham 83, Ish Sodhi 56; Mark Wood 2/45, Jack Leach 2/61)

Result: Draw

Series Result: New Zealand won the series by 1-0

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