Wait goes on for first test win under McCullum
MATT RICHENS IN DUNEDIN
The New Zealand cricket team's wait continues.
Four dropped chances, a bizarre third umpire decision, a brilliant double hundred, then the rain all conspired against them to steal a draw from the jaws of victory.
A win, seemingly a forgone conclusion earlier in the first test against the West Indies in Dunedin, still eludes the New Zealanders this year.
In their 10 tests, New Zealand have had six draws and four losses.
Four players of the current side - Neil Wagner, Hamish Rutherford, Ish Sodhi and Corey Anderson - are yet to win a test.
It's the same problem for the Brendon McCullum-Mike Hesson captain-coach combination, it's winless.
New Zealand were 79-4 when stumps were finally called on a sodden University Oval last night - within touching distance of their 112-run winning target.
But with rain in the area and on the forecast, the not-out batsmen, Anderson and Ross Taylor, were unable to open their shoulders too early as the side was four down.
There were some initial questions over why New Zealand didn't up their pace late in the second session before the rain came, but former New Zealand batsman Craig McMillan defended New Zealand's cautious approach.
"When you're 4-40, and a couple of those dismissals have been from average shot selection, let me tell you, and I've been in a couple of changing rooms chasing low totals, it's a nervous place. You tend to get a little bit tense and you lose that freedom." McMillan said the 35-run partnership between Taylor and Anderson was crucial. "There will be a bit of frustration with that second-innings performance, but if the rain's not here and the overs play out, they win, I have no doubt about that." New Zealand had - finally - dismissed the West Indies in their second innings for 507 yesterday after removing Darren Bravo for 218.
Bravo looked to be caught behind on 42 but, despite what appeared to be clear proof to the contrary, third umpire Ian Gould ruled there was not enough evidence to overturn the on-field decision.
That would have changed the complexion of the match remarkably as would have New Zealand holding their second innings chances.
In New Zealand's final-day chase, Shane Shillingford took 4-26 to put the brakes on long enough for the rain to save the Windies.
In a match where McCullum quashed plenty of his batting demons with his first test century in three years, there are growing issues with his success rate as a captain.
New Zealand all but won this test, but he is still yet to break his duck as skipper.
"You're obviously judged by your results. When you've not won a test since I've taken over it frustrates you, but we did everything we could to win this test match," he said.
"And I believe we'd have won if it hadn't rained. Against England last year, we did everything we could in that series to get the result go our way, it didn't quite but we came very close against a very good test team.
"We've had some lows during the time as well, but I firmly believe we are performing pretty well in test cricket and sooner or later the wins will come." McMillan and McCullum agreed there was plenty to like in the New Zealanders' performance while West Indies captain Darren Sammy was rapt to be able to leave Dunedin with a draw.
His side will be better for the time in the middle and have self-belief in spades after this test.
But a year to the day after McCullum was announced as Taylor's replacement as New Zealand skipper, he was frustrated to have come so close to a win and not got over the line.
"Obviously [I'm] disappointed. I thought we were excellent through the majority of that test match and played some really good cricket, especially after losing the toss on a pretty green wicket. To get 600 and set the game up like we did gave ourselves a real opportunity and it's disappointing it started raining when we were 33 short."
THE MCCULLUM-HESSON TESTS
v South Africa, Capetown, Jan 2013 - LOST by an innings and 27 runs
v South Africa, Port Elizbeth, Jan 2013 - LOST by an innings and 193 runs
v England, Dunedin, March 2013 - DRAW
v England, Wellington, March 2013 - DRAW
v England, Auckland, March 2013 -DRAW
v England, Lord's, May 2013 - LOST by 170 runs
v England, Leeds, May 2013 - LOST by 247 runs
v Bangladesh, Chittagong, Oct 2013 - DRAW
v Bangladesh, Dhaka, Oct 2013 - DRAW
v West Indies, Dunedin, Dec 2013 - DRAW
v Sri Lanka, Colombo, Nov 2012 - WON by 167 runs
LAST WIN V WEST INDIES
v West Indies, Wellington, Mar 2006 - WON by 10 wickets
LAST HOME WIN
v Zimbabwe, Napier, Jan 2012 - WON by an innings and 301 runs
LAST HOME WIN AGAINST A TOP 8 SIDE (not counting Bangladesh and Zimbabwe)
v Pakistan, Dunedin, Nov 2009 - WON by 32 runs
- Sunday News
What do you make of the recent crackdown on chucking in cricket?