Steve Finn celebrates maiden half-century: 'I didn't know he had it in him... nor did he'

England comeback to draw first Test in New Zealand

It almost certainly was not in the strategy for the year's events, but England were mightily relieved to escape from Dunedin with a draw. An improbable combination of Nick Compton's first Test century and Steve Finn's maiden half-century in first-class cricket ensured that the embarrassment of defeat was repelled.

Finn's efforts on the last day, when he batted until after tea and faced 203 balls, were astonishing even on a flat pitch. The wine he earned as incentives from team-mates should be on its way to his home any day.

"It was a case of wine from [Alastair] Cook, and a case from Jimmy [Anderson] if I saw it through to lunch and then tea," said Finn. "So I've got four cases of wine coming my way, I think. Those guys all helped me through to have smaller targets, I suppose, because it's easy to get giddy as a lower-order batsman."

Finn's 56 was the ninth half-century by an England nightwatchman. It was a surprise when he entered the arena on the fourth evening because Anderson has been England's nightwatchman on 14 occasions.

"The way Steven applied himself was fantastic," said England's captain, Cook (right). "I certainly didn't know he had that in him and I don't think he did either. It just shows that if you really put your mind to it and you're very disciplined on a flat wicket anyone can make themselves hard to get out. It proved to be a good selection."

Cook acclaimed Compton's century with equal zest. He and everybody else knew that if Compton had followed his first-innings duck with another low score the writing would have been on the selectors' wall.

"Any time you get nought for England, you're under pressure in the second innings," said Cook. "It's great that he's gone on to get a hundred, and I think we'll see him take a big step forward because a hundred as an opening batter for England will give you a huge amount of confidence. Knowing you can perform at this level is a big mental hurdle."

But Cook was not hiding from the plain fact that his side had a hideous start to the match. They batted with appalling judgement on the first day and then failed to contain their opponents as might have been expected, either through poor homework or moderate bowling.

"They put some pressure on us, but if you look at pretty much all the shots, it was poor execution – pretty much, you can describe them as soft dismissals," said Cook. "It's very hard to come back in a game from the situation we found ourselves in. But the character we showed to manage to dig ourselves out of that hole is very pleasing."

For New Zealand it might be viewed as a missed opportunity but after horrific experiences in South Africa, where they were bowled out for 45 in the first Test and lost both matches by an innings, it was also a blessed relief. Their captain, Brendon McCullum, said: "We learned some lessons from South Africa and we wanted to implement them at home against another very good team. This is a big step for us. The challenge is to back it up."

Top scoring English nightwatchmen

Alex Tudor v New Zealand 1999
99* runs off 119 balls

Harold Larwood v Australia 1933
98 runs off 221 balls

Edward Hemmings v Aus 1983
95 runs off 174 balls

Alec Bedser v Australia 1948
79 runs off 183 balls

John Mortimore v India 1964
73* runs off 158 balls

Bruce French v Pakistan 1987
59 runs off 113 balls

Fred Titmus v Australia 1964
56 runs off 143 balls

Steven Finn v New Zealand 2013
56 runs off 203 balls

John Hitch v Australia 1921
51* runs off 72 balls

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
art
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features staging of a playground gun massacre
Travel
travel
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
News
i100This Instagram photo does not prove Russian army is in Ukraine
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Sport
sportVan Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Life and Style
Martha Stewart wrote an opinion column for Time magazine this week titled “Why I Love My Drone”
lifeLifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot... to take photos of her farm
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
filmReview: Sometimes the immersive experience was so good it blurred the line between fiction and reality
News
i100
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Environment
Tyred out: should fair weather cyclists have a separate slow lane?
environmentFormer Labour minister demands 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists
News
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices