• New Zealand v England, 3rd Test, Auckland, 5th day

Cook praise for 'outstanding' Prior

ESPN staff
March 26, 2013
Cook praises battling England

Alastair Cook has hailed Matt Prior, Ian Bell and Stuart Broad for 'standing up and delivering' as England claimed an unlikely draw with New Zealand in the final Test in Auckland.

England looked down and out at the start of the fifth day, as they were required to bat out 90 overs with only six wickets in hand. But Bell produced a near-six hour vigil, Prior made an unbeaten century and Broad batted 77 balls for only six runs to help the side over the line.

It was a performance that brought mixed emotions, given England were strong favourites prior to the start of the series, but captain Cook elected to praise his three heroes.

"We just kept losing wickets at intervals," Cook said. "Two last night... obviously two today either side of lunch and then the two just at the end didn't help the nerves in the dressing room.

"But Matt Prior was just outstanding after that to see us home and working with Broady and Belly, who went out there for six hours.

"It was a good situation with the senior players standing up and delivering."

Reflecting on the fact the series ended 0-0 after three draws, Cook said: "We came here to win the series so we are disappointed we haven't done.

"We are disappointed that we have not played well enough to win the Test series. That is the bottom line.

"We fought hard, especially in Dunedin coming back from behind there. Wellington we played a bit better. Here we haven't played as well as you need to do it in international cricket."

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