The final day of this series was one where England will rue missed opportunities – none more glaring than the simple catch dropped by Joe Denly as New Zealand ended the test 241-2.
Overnight, New Zealand were still trailing by five and knew that a flurry of early wickets could have let England have the final say in the match.
That prospect never materialised, a combination of a very flat wicket and tired bowlers gave New Zealand’s two best batsmen a chance to bed in and play out for the draw.
There were a number of opportunities where England will be kicking themselves they did not take. Williamson was dropped by wicketkeeper Ollie Pope in fourth over of the day.
Worse was to come however, when Williamson was deceived by a Jofra Archer ball and spooned a catch to Joe Denly at mid wicket. Unfortunately Denly was not able to take the chance, dropping a catch which an under-eight cricketer would be ashamed of.
The worst dropped catch….ever?pic.twitter.com/PdpgSnabnf
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) 2 December 2019
His drop was so ghastly it is sure to be played in highlight reels and Twitter memes for ever more, surely one of the worst dropped catches in the history of test cricket.
Williamson and Taylor resumed after lunch and accelerated knowing that a band of weather was imminent and if they wanted centuries they would need to come quickly.
Both men finished with triple figures, 104 and 105 not out respectively. Ross Taylor became the second New Zealander to score 7000 test runs and 1000 runs at Seddon Park alone.
They used the final portion of the match, knowing that a draw would be inevitable, to get time in the middle ahead of their crucial series later this month against Australia.
England will depart New Zealand with more questions than answers, the fitness of several key players and the leadership credentials of Joe Root. Only once on an incredibly docile track were they able to bat for over 150 overs and give their tired bowling attack a chance to rest.
Many more questions will be asked of them when they face South Africa’s pace attack on faster wickets.
Finally, it was very disappointing that this series did not count towards the international test championship and also a shame it was only two tests long.
New Zealand and England have played some classic encounters in recent times and it is ludicrous that the series is now over at a point where it feels as if it is just getting going.
Never the less, New Zealand will be pleased with the series win and England will not have to wait long before making amends and looking to bat for longer periods of time with more regularity.