For two more days the test swung back and forth but at the end of each day New Zealand could reasonably argue that they were just edging the match. Both teams had high points, for England a fifer for Jimmy and a good partnership between Trott and Root with both passing 50. For the Kiwis it was the batting of Williamson and Taylor plus the bowling of Southee who took ten wickets in the match. Going into the fourth and final innings with NZ chasing just over 230 the game appeared to be finely balanced, maybe NZ just ahead as one partnership could secure the game. I was very nervous!
The Kiwi’s second innings put the game into context, blown away for 68 and England had won by 170 runs. Some great bowling by Broad to claim 7-44, supported by Anderson who they just couldn’t get away.
Was this result due to a brilliant bowling performance or had England been in the driving seat throughout? NZ would say they were well in the game throughout but had they really been just hanging in there? Whatever, it was a much better match than the mostly boring draws in NZ. England have edged ahead in this series of five matches (including those in NZ) but we could be going into the final match poised at 2-2. The teams have appeared evenly matched until today. We England fans will want to see our team pull away in the next match and lay down a marker for later in the summer.
England haven't managed to reach the form that saw them win in India, the captain has had a couple of quiet matches by his standards so we haven't had the platform. Bell has been inconsistent and Bairstow unconvincing, Prior had a rare bad match this time. Trott has been the main man lately and Joe Root really looks comfortable at test level. Compton will want a good score in the next match to feel secure for the Ashes. The KPego is waiting in the wings, someone will have to miss out.