Cook ready for one-Test shoot-out
England will head to Auckland on Tuesday for a winner-takes-all final Test against New Zealand, and captain Alastair Cook is looking forward to the challenge.
Cyclone Sandra ensured a soggy stalemate in the second Test at the Basin Reserve after just 35 overs were possible on Sunday, and then a long-predicted washout settled the issue on Monday. This was a near mirror image of the draw in Dunedin last week.
The upshot is a potential decider at Eden Park, starting on Friday, and both captains appear satisfied with that knife-edge scenario. Cook said: "It's now a one-match Test series. Let's hope we're set fair for five days, and we can actually get a result. Both sides will just want to play five days in a one-off match - and the best side will win."
Cook acknowledged England have so far got no more and no less than they have deserved.
"In Dunedin, we were behind the eight-ball because we didn't bat very well for two sessions," he added. "Then we did well to fight and hold on to that game.
"In this game, we played some really good cricket...but the weather didn't allow us to win. I don't think we've been too far off."
His opposite number Brendon McCullum expressed a similarly rational view, and was enthused too by the enduring possibility of a rare series win against England.
"We dictated the first Test; England held on and showed some fighting qualities - and we held on and showed fighting qualities in this one," he said. "Both teams will be reasonably comfortable that it's 0-0 and it's all to play for. We see it as a great opportunity to clinch a series win against England - which is something we'd all hold very fondly."
For England, anything but victory will be an anti-climax after their historic success in India before Christmas; for New Zealand, even another draw would be seen as a step forward after their crushing defeat away to world number ones South Africa at the start of the year.
"We have made some improvements from previous series - but we know the third Test is what we will be decided on," said McCullum. "It would obviously be as good as you could get. We've had some great moments in Test cricket in the last 20 years, but from my career it would be right up there."
- 'Fury' at bid to axe safe Gravel Lane crossing
- Julie Bailey "snubbed" by Stafford Borough Council
- Cannock council quashes rumours they intend to prosecute hospital campaigners
- Hospital's not changed says patient
- Medieval grooming kit and Charles II wedding memorabilia among treasure unearthed near Stafford
- Staffordshire County Council leader calls on Government to stop cuts