England wrap up series
England brought the curtain down on their tour of New Zealand with victory in the final Test to secure a 2-1 series win.
The tourists wrapped up an emphatic 121-run triumph by bowling New Zealand out for 431 half an hour after lunch on the last day in Napier.
Monty Panesar took three of the five wickets to fall in little more than a session, matching Ryan Sidebottom’s first-innings feat of claiming Test-best figures.
Panesar’s 6-126 haul ensured sporadic resistance from Ross Taylor and Daniel Vettori, who did little more than delay the inevitable, although debutant Tim Southee entertained the crowd - if not the England bowlers - with the fastest half-century in New Zealand history.
Ultimately, however, his brutal assault - he smashed 77 not out off just 40 balls - served merely to limit New Zealand’s margin of defeat, and Sidebottom’s dismissal of Chris Martin put the seal on England’s first series win on foreign soil since they beat South Africa three years ago.
It capped a fine comeback not only in this game, but also the series.
That they won so comfortably after they slipped to four for three on the first morning said much for their considerable resolve, while this was also the first time they have come from behind to win a three-Test series since beating Sri Lanka in 2001.
The hosts began the day on 222 for five, chasing a notional 553 to win or, more realistically, batting out the last three sessions of the game to secure a draw.
Though Taylor led their resistance for the opening half hour, Panesar accounted for him and Brendon McCullum in successive overs.
Taylor was largely responsible for the addition of 54 runs in the first nine overs of the day, converting his overnight 34 into an attractive 85-ball half-century containing 10 fours.
He twice hit Sidebottom for three boundaries in an over as he capitalised on England’s attacking field, only to fall for 74 as he pushed forward at Panesar and edged to Paul Collingwood’s right at slip.
McCullum, who, unusually, contributed just 37 to a sixth-wicket stand with Taylor worth 104, perished in Panesar’s next over for 42, bowled playing back to a delivery that hurried on.
Jeetan Patel also fell to the persevering Panesar, who sent down 46 overs in the innings, although it took an exceptional diving catch by Stuart Broad at backward square-leg off a powerful sweep to cut short his innings.
Vettori, as he has for much of the series, proved a source of frustration for England by making an enterprising 43 off 56 balls, but he gloved James Anderson behind as he walked across his stumps, the delivery after a similar tactic had prompted umpire Rudi Koertzen to call dead ball.
Cue Southee’s remarkable display of hitting. The 19-year-old, who showed few pretensions with the bat in the first innings, smashed nine sixes - mostly into or over the stand at midwicket - and four fours in his thrilling innings.
He went to fifty off just 29 balls, beating Ian Smith’s New Zealand record of 34 deliveries against Pakistan at Faisalabad in 1990.
Neither Panesar, Anderson nor Stuart Broad were spared as Southee opened his shoulders, evoking memories of Nathan Astle’s explosive double century on the previous tour that carried New Zealand so close to victory in Christhchurch.
As the ball disappeared all around McLean Park, captain Michael Vaughan was probably not the only member of the England side who was glad he chose to continue batting on the fourth morning when some observers were calling for an earlier declaration.
In reality, New Zealand were never likely to reach their target, and it was fitting that man of the match and man of the series Sidebottom, whose seven-wicket haul on the second day turned this contest on its head, had the final say by knocking back Martin’s off stump.