Excite

Compton century edges England towards safety

When Scarlett O’Hara says "tomorrow is another day" at the end of Gone With The Wind, she wasn’t actually thinking about Test cricket. The adage applies to the long form of the sport though, in that it’s always possible to turn a match around with an outstanding performance.

England, contemplating demoralising defeat after two and a half torrid days facing New Zealand’s bowlers and batsmen, dragged themselves back from the brink with an outstanding, record-breaking show of defiance from their openers, Alastair Cook and Nick Compton. Both worked their way to steady centuries in a partnership worth more than England’s entire first innings. They turned an unlikely draw into a firm probability.

England had to suffer more punishment in the morning session as New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum flailed several boundaries to top up New Zealand’s first innings before declaring. Cook and Compton started a little nervously, but looked far more assured after lunch. Cook completed his 24th century for England before getting out, leaving a newly-confident Compton to anchor England’s innings on the final day.

Compton emulated his grandfather Denis in scoring a century for England, although he wasn’t too concerned about the burden of family expectations. "I’m not worried about that," he said. "It’s great to do something that my grandfather did, sure. But right now I’m happy for myself and obviously my family."

He admitted it was a relief to score runs at such a crucial time in the match. "I never thought perhaps a year ago or a couple of months ago I’d be sitting here right now with a hundred," he said. "I kept believing, but it’s been a long time. It’s a strange feeling, but I’m just delighted to be here."

Doubters had suggested that Compton might give way to Joe Root, but the century should help Compton consolidate an opener’s spot for the Ashes series against Australia.

United Kingdom - Excite Network Copyright ©1995 - 2017