However, England captain Joe Root felt the Test was always heading for a draw, saying even if the weather and fielding had gone England’s way “we still couldn’t have forced a result.” Root’s return to form with a superbly crafted 226 in Hamilton after a poor 2019 proved the catalyst for his side’s improved batting on a pitch that proved difficult to score from but also offered the bowlers little assistance.
He also got significant support from opener Rory Burns, who scored 101, and 21-year-old Ollie Pope (75) as England scored 476, its first score over 400 in a Test in more than a year. “We want to become resilient in these conditions and make sure that we can back up performances like this and become a much harder side to beat and then go on and win games when it gets flat or it gets hard,” Root added.
Williamson was also pleased with his side’s resilience after they went into the match without injured new ball bowler Trent Boult and all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme.
Pace bowler Matt Henry and debutant all-rounder Daryl Mitchell slotted into the team seamlessly with the 28-year-old Mitchell scoring 73 in his only innings.
Neil Wagner also toiled away on two unresponsive pitches and was rewarded with five-wicket hauls in successive innings, 13 wickets at 19.84 each, and the man-of-the-series award. With both pitches proving tough for both batsmen and bowlers, Williamson said the mental application of his team had impressed him the most as they head to Australia next week for a three-test series starting in Perth on Dec. 12.
Wicketkeeper BJ Watling scored his maiden test double century, and topped the run-scoring charts, while Mitchell Santner also scored his first century. New Zealand batsmen also contributed five of the seven centuries and five of the nine half centuries scored between the sides in the series.