New Zealand v England Tests
NZ claim series with nail-biting draw
Sodhi, Latham, de Grandhomme and Wagner the heroes as hosts survive in fading Christchurch light
3 April 2018, 04:34 PM AEST
New Zealand have claimed a 1-0 series success over England after holding on for a valiant draw by two wickets in the second and final Test in Christchurch.
In ever-fading light at Hagley Oval, Ish Sodhi (56no off 168) and Neil Wagner (7 off 103) put together a defiant eighth-wicket stand to deny Joe Root's team a first away win in their last dozen Tests.
The tourists removed a stubborn Tom Latham to leave New Zealand 6-191 at tea, before Mark Wood dismissed Colin de Grandhomme (45) after the interval to inspire yet further hope.
However, Sodhi and Wagner came together, stubbornly resisting England's bowlers with a ring of close-in fielders.
Wagner finally fell to the off-spin of Root, caught bat-pad close in, but that proved to be the final match of an enthralling finale.
It was New Zealand's second series success over England on home soil in their Test history, fourth overall and first since 1999.
Earlier, Stuart Broad took two wickets with the first two balls of the day to start a flow of dismissals, leaving New Zealand to pin their hopes on the dogged Tom Latham.
But after propping up the innings for nearly five hours, the opener was removed midway through the afternoon session for 83.
De Grandhomme, required for the second time in the Test to park his natural quick-fire tendencies and graft away, made 45 from 97 deliveries before coming unstuck to Wood.
New Zealand's remaining three wickets include Tim Southee who has a viral complaint and is said to be feverish, and any thoughts of reaching their formidable 382-run target have long gone.
A win to England would not only square the series but, importantly for their morale, would end a run of 12 winless Tests away from home.
Latham fought a lonely battle to keep New Zealand in the Test with his biggest partnership being 44 for the fifth wicket with BJ Watling who made 19.
While Latham played a near textbook innings, apart from a nick on 23 that was grounded by James Vince in the cordon, most of the other batsmen authored their own downfall.
Broad's first ball strayed down the leg side and Jeet Raval, resuming at 17 with New Zealand 0-42, steered it to Mark Stoneman at midwicket.
With his next ball, Broad gave Kane Williamson a sighter outside the off stump but the New Zealand skipper decided to have a crack and the ball was edged to Jonny Bairstow behind the stumps.
It was the first golden duck for New Zealand's star batsman, playing in his 65th Test.
Ross Taylor avoided the hat-trick ball, was dropped on six by Vince and progressed to 13 when he saw Jack Leach place Alastair Cook at short backward leg and then promptly chipped the ball straight to him.
Cook moved to first slip to catch Henry Nicholls for 13 off James Anderson, and Anderson then fielded at short backward square to catch Watling when he swept at a loose Wood delivery.
After two dropped catches, Vince finally pouched one to send Latham on his way with a diving effort at square leg off Leach.