Jos Buttler hits century as England draw in final warm-up match

Jos Buttler hit a century but England was unable to force victory in their final warm-up match against New Zealand A in Whangarei.

Resuming on 88 on day three, Buttler made 110 to help his side post 405 in reply to the hosts’ 302-6 declared.

Jofra Archer and Sam Curran took three wickets each to reduce New Zealand A to 129-8, a lead of just 26.

But William Somerville and Ajaz Patel held firm for 22.4 overs to guide their side to 169-8 and ensure the draw.

England faces New Zealand in two Tests, with the first match at the Bay Oval in Tauranga starting on Wednesday.

“It was really nice for me. Spending that time in the middle going into a Test series is great. It gives you confidence,” Buttler told the BBC’s Test Match Special.

“It’s not a massive coincidence that when I’ve had time away from cricket and been able to refresh that I play well then.

“New Zealand will be a massive challenge. They are an excellent side and it should be a really exciting series.”

Buttler, Ollie Pope (88) and Joe Denly (68) led England’s recovery from 105-5 on day two at the Cobham Oval, as the tourists reached 355-8 at the close, a lead of 53.

Wicketkeeper Buttler put on 71 for the ninth wicket with Archer (41 not out) as he brought up his sixth first-class hundred – only his second in the past five years.

He finally fell after gloving a pull stroke off Scott Kuggeleijn behind to wicketkeeper Tom Blundell.

Kuggeleijn, who was drafted into the New Zealand A side on day two after Hamish Rutherford failed a concussion test, then removed Stuart Broad for a duck with the next ball to end the innings, giving England a lead of 103.

With Rutherford out after being struck by Archer on day one, Tim Seifert was promoted to open – but he lasted just two balls before nicking Archer to Dom Sibley at third slip.

Archer’s pace troubled the batsmen on an otherwise docile pitch and the fast bowler also had opener Rachin Ravindra and Blundell caught by Sibley as the hosts fell to 99-6.

This side is set to start the first Test and Surrey left-armer Curran backed up the decision to play him instead of Chris Woakes by having Glenn Phillips and Jimmy Neesham caught behind, before bowling Kuggeleijn.

Broad and Ben Stokes took one wicket each as England looked to close in on victory, but they could not remove Somerville (32 not out) and Patel (10 not out) and captains Joe Root and Blundell shook hands on a draw with just under an hour of play remaining.

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Source – BBC

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