Defeat was inevitable for the Kiwis once they were set 553 to win the deciding Test at Napier. A Draw was a distant result as they had to bat for more than 5 sessions! The Kiwis did go down eventually but not without a fight as they made the English wait for more than 7 hours. England did wrap up the Test Match and the Series during the second session of the final day bowling out the home side for 431 which gives them a 121-run win.
Monty Panesar as he was required, did all the hard work, bowling as many as 46 overs and capturing 6 wickets. England had completed half of their job by the end of the fourth day itself when they had got 5 wickets. They had to face some stiff resistance early on provided by Opener Ian Bell (69 from 156 balls) and Stephen Fleming (66 from 103 balls). England were fortunate enough to get wickets falling quickly after the 2nd wicket stand between Bell and Fleming was broken.
New Zealand resumed the final day at 222 for 5 and it was just matter of time for the tourists to bowl them out. And England had to wait for a little over a session to pick the remaining five wickets. There were some spirited performances from Ross Taylor (74 from 117 with 14 fours), Brendon McCullum (42) and Daniel Vettori (43). But there was one stunning show from the debutant Tim Southee, who blazed his way to an unbeaten 40-ball 77! Just of 19 years, Southee smashed 4 boundaries and as many as 9 sixes in his entertaining cameo. Southee went onto record the fastest fifty by a New Zealand in Test Cricket when he got to the milestone in 29 balls. The man who received the caning from the debutant was Monty Panesar, who was taken for 41 in two overs!
Ryan Sidebottom was named as both the Man of the Match and also the Player of the Series. This Test Match will be remembered as Stephen Fleming’s last international match.
Originally posted 2008-03-24 10:44:17.