Cow Corner

Black Caps still hungry for Test glory

Cow Corner

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Any lingering suspicions that the New Zealand players do not really care about Test cricket can be discounted.

The fifth day of the first Test ended in a draw as England batted for 170 overs in their second innings before New Zealand captain Brendan McCullum bowed to the inevitable and shook hands with not-out batsmen Ian Bell and Matt Prior ahead of the final hour.

But McCullum was a reluctant hand-shaker. The New Zealand captain would have told his bowlers to carry on for another 15 overs, but for the fact that he expects them to do it all again in the second Test in Wellington in four days' time.

His bowlers would gladly have carried on too. Third seamer Neil Wagner got through 43 overs in the innings yet was still charging in to make Ian Bell hop about on the final ball of the day with a well-judged bouncer.

On a true batting pitch so placid and devoid of life that Steven Finn was able to hit a career-best Test score in both innings, the miserly Trent Boult bowled 12 maidens in 35 overs to finish with 1-49.

Fellow opening bowler Tim Southee was less economical, but still roared in with the third new ball as New Zealand gave it one last effort in the final session.

This was an immense, Stakhanovite effort from the New Zealand seamers, as McCullum acknowledged after the match.

"It was hard to get the ball out of their hands," he said. "Their effort was unquestionable and I'm extremely proud of their efforts.

"From the moment we stepped on the field to the moment we stepped of it, we showed the heart we want to be known for. We never gave up belief that we could get the job done."

The New Zealand internationals who play in the Indian Premier League earn more from one week of IPL than they do from their entire annual NZC contracts. Their board accept this and usually allow their players a five-week window for the IPL.

In May 2013, New Zealand tour England. The IPL starts on the 7th of April, so five weeks of IPL brings the New Zealand players up to the eve of the first Test at Lord's on 16 May.

But McCullum, Doug Bracewell, Ross Taylor and Dan Vettori will be in London long before that.

Money matters in cricket, but the New Zealand cricketers' outstanding efforts in Dunedin suggest that they still think that Test cricket is the ultimate form of the game.


MOMENT OF THE DAY: Steven Finn's bashful smile as he took a single to move from 53 to 54. It had taken him 50 balls and an hour and 12 minutes!

TWEET OF THE DAY: "How many runs does Finn have to score before this match is stripped of Test status?" Dave Tickner is not impressed with a batting track that allows the Watford Wall to score a fifty.

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