Alastair Cook: We can reign despite rain

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Football News

The final test in Auckland will decide the outcome of the series with the sides locked at 0-0 when it could arguably be 1-0 in favour of England after the second test in Wellington could not be completed.

Nearly two months of drought in New Zealand was ended on the final day of the second test when the match was abandoned shortly after lunch without a single ball being bowled.

The Kiwis were 162-2 after following on and still 49 runs behind England at the close of play on day four and Alastair Cook may rue a missed opportunity as their opponents did in the first Test when a wash-out on the first day made improbable any result other than a draw.

Cook told the Evening Standard: "We got ourselves in a position to win the game.  We can take a lot from that after our first performance.  Clearly, I don't think we really wanted to enforce the follow-on when you've bowled 90 overs on a good wicket and put the effort in - with four bowlers - that the lads had."

In reality England had 68 overs on day four and Cook decided to stick with the game-plan of being patient and waiting for chances to come rather than going with all-out attacking fields and bowling, despite the forecasts of rain.

After a disastrous battling display in the first innings of the opening Test, England were forced to bat for 170 overs in their second innings to save a draw.  Had the weather not disrupted the first Test, New Zealand would have surely taken a 1-0 lead and Cook believes the series would be level regardless of weather problems.

He said: "Both sides will just want to play five days in a one-off match - and the best side will win.  New Zealand lost a lot of time in that first game, when they were ahead, and we've lost a lot of time in this one.  So i suppose it's fair in one way."

Nick Compton's second hundred in consecutive innings and Stuart Broad's 6 for 51 give England an important boost going into the final test where England will look to break the statement and take the series 1-0.

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