Twitter Reactions: England play safe to secure draw as the series stays open

Twitter Reactions: England play safe to secure draw as the series stays open

A brief shower before Lunch had led New Zealand to declare for 169/6, setting a target of 273 for an England win. 

England Cricket Team
England Cricket Team. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

An engrossing affair at the Lord’s between England and New Zealand ended in a draw, not dull by any means, though. While the English summer looked set to start with a definite result, a complete day lost to rain eventually prevented that from happening. Despite one-fifth of the Test gone, the two teams entered the final day with all three results possible. However, England opted for the safer route: not fancying the chase and keeping the series open.

Earlier, picking up the 165-run overnight lead, New Zealand went about to add runs at a fair clip – albeit after a watchful start in the morning session in the face of some impressive swing bowling. Nightwatchman Neil Wagner had work worth only a couple of fours off Stuart Broad before he skied an Ollie Robinson short ball to the keeper.

New Zealand’s bold declaration

Having taken his time early morning, Tom Latham joined forces with Ross Taylor, as the two added 31 from 40 balls. Stuart Broad, who would have seen Latham’s back if not for Zak Crawley to drop a hard chance, ensured to end his wicketless rut, relying no more on fielders for favour as he pinned Latham lbw, who reviewed it to no avail.

Taylor, Henry Nicholls, and BJ Watling added runs in some rush to stretch the team lead past 250. In that process, Mark Wood had Taylor caught behind to end his 35-ball 33 before Rory Burns plucked a brilliant catch off Root to undo Nicholls. A brief shower forced the umpires for an early Lunch, which had New Zealand declaring for 169/6, setting a target of 273 in 75 overs for an England win.

England in a shell

With a six-for in the first innings, Tim Southee’s incisional first burst in tandem with an equally probing Kyle Jamieson, who bowled five maidens on the trot, tested both Rory Burns, the first-innings centurion, and his partner Dom Sibley. With the ball flying past the outside edge and a couple of lbw shouts turned down, success with the ball remained elusive for New Zealand until Neil Wagner induced an edge from Burns for Southee to gobble magnificently at second slip.

England never looked a team going for the chase, with a scratchy Zak Crawley blocking it out alongside Sibley. The former’s defense, though, did not last long and he perished to Southee for the second time, thickly edging him to Wagner at gully to depart at the stroke of Tea. In a rather attritional final session of the final day, Joe Root and Sibley added 80 for the third wicket from 153, making the seemingly evident result – a draw – by then a certain outcome.

That did not mean the connoisseurs were not given anything to appreciate, as an at-his-ferocious best Wagner continued to make the ball dance to his tunes, with the surrounding oohs of the close in-fielders every time the ball missed kissing the willow by nanometers adding more to the fun.

Pitching relentlessly in the corridor of uncertainty, Wagner was rewarded when a short of a length delivery stayed marginally low and pinned Root lbw for 40. A visibly frustrated skipper chose to challenge the call, only for the ball-tracker to light three reds. With no Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes in the side, Ollie Pope and Sibley took England to safety as New Zealand tried nearly everything before shaking hands when five overs later the clock would have anyway said “it’s time”.

Here’s how Twitter reacted: