Queenstown, match drawn:
England Lions 493-5 dec (Trott 138 not out, Patel 101, Key 89, Wright 55, Moore 43) & 158-1 (Key 66 not out, Trott 75 not out).
New Zealand A 430 (How 190 not out, Franklin 92, Ingram 73; Davies 29-13-54-4)
By Charles Randall at the Frankton oval
ROB KEY, the Lions captain, admits that his "lust for excitement" is not quite what is was, but he has at least ensured that his runs for England Lions in New Zealand will keep him in the reckoning for a Test return.
The first four-day Test against New Zealand A ended in stalemate at Queenstown, with the Lions batting out time after achieving a first-innings lead of 63. Though the final session was meaningless, the first class status of this match made Key’s two innings of 89 and 66 not out look more than useful.
Similarly Jonathan Trott went better with undefeated innings of 138 and 75. While both batsmen played with merit, Key had to battle through a first day in soggy conditions and achieved a respectable tempo. The pitch did have life, and this was a bowlers’ game that somehow went wrong.
Jamie How, New Zealand’s out-of-favour Test opener, carried his bat for 190 in a nine-hour marathon, adding only one run in the first 45 minutes of the final morning until wickets falling around him provided a wake-up call.
After James Franklin had been caught at point off a leading edge for 92, the New Zealand innings disintegrated as Durham newcomer Mark Davies took two quick wickets, with Robbie Joseph holding a catch at mid-off and Eoin Morgan p,ouching a catch at third slip.
Luke Wright hit the stumps for his one hard-earned wicket, and Joseph struck the final blow, having last man well held by wicketkeeper Ben Scott near first slip. The New Zealanders had only 10 men after a serious hand injury sustained by Brad Watling in the field.
Key said: "I think we played the better cricket. We lost what could have been a crucial toss and did well to get 490-odd, especially after the first day, which was tough. I thought we bowled well in parts. We dropped too many chances. When the pitch gets flat, you can’t afford to waste umpteen chances. That is what probably cost us in the end. The good thing is that there’s improvement that can be made.
"Queenstown has been a fantastic place to play and it has been a fantastic wicket with something in it for the bowlers. The scoreboard hasn’t actually done the pitch justice. I’ll remember the scenery, but haven’t seen a great deal of the place. I worry more about my kids now and not jumping off hills or anything stupid like that. My lust for excitement has very much dropped off. A few years ago, maybe…"
Picture courtesy of Getty Images