First Test, Lord's (day five, close) New Zealand 277 & 296-6 drew with England 319
By David Ornstein
Oram's century was his first against England and fifth in all Tests
Jacob Oram hit a resilient 101 as New Zealand frustrated England to secure a draw in the first Test at Lord's.
The all-rounder came in with his side just 78 ahead at 120-4 after Brendon McCullum was forced to retire hurt.
Oram blunted England's attack and fired 15 fours and two sixes in a 120-ball 101 before falling to Ryan Sidebottom.
McCullum bravely returned but it was Test debutant Daniel Flynn who saw the tourists to 269-6, a lead of 227, when bad light ended play at 1704 BST.
The Test was severely disrupted by bad weather during the first three days but, having taken three wickets before lunch on the final day, England will still be disappointed not to have forced a result.
They were not helped by missing one straightforward catch, while two difficult, but catchable, opportunities were also squandered by the slip fielders.
And many will point to the manner in which Kiwi openers Jamie How and Aaron Redmond emerged unscathed from a crucial final hour of play on day four.
Having arguably already overcome its greatest challenge, the partnership was broken within six overs of the morning session when James Anderson found Redmond's outside edge and presented Andrew Strauss with a straightforward catch at first slip.
England had expressed concern about the shape of the new ball and, with the first delivery after the umpires had swapped it for one of a similar age, Sidebottom found in-swing and trapped James Marshall with a ball seemingly destined for leg stump.
Ahead of play, New Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori had spoken of his side's plan to bat all day and they could hardly have made a worse start.
But How, with only one Test 50 from his previous 16 innings, led the reconstruction mission with a fluent 68.
He flashed Stuart Broad over gulley to bring up his 98-ball half-century and then opened his shoulders to dispatch Anderson for a pair of sumptuously timed boundaries through the covers and square-leg.
The 27-year-old drove Broad and swept Monty Panesar for fours but at the other end Ross Taylor, who produced a bizarre one-day style knock in the first innings, was in less glittering form.
He had already seen an attempted leave clip the toe of his bat and fly between second and third slips when Strauss dropped a straightforward chance to spare him again.
Ironically, upon falling lbw to Panesar, Taylor was perhaps unfortunate because he appeared to get an inside edge onto his pad.
The number four was, nonetheless, caught at slip in the process so, either way, he was rightly heading back to the pavilion.
McCullum, who made a run-a-ball 97 in the first innings, signalled his intent by planting Panesar back over his head for four in the 37th over.
The England players rue the moment Andrew Strauss drops Ross Taylor
Shortly before lunch, Panesar appeared to be winning his duel with New Zealand's most explosive batsman - coaxing a leading edge that fell short of cover, completely deceiving him the very next ball and then having a vociferous leg-before appeal rejected.
McCullum stood firm but England would not have to wait long for a breakthrough.
In his second over after the interval, Broad angled a superb delivery towards How that straightened off the seam, caught a leading edge and was snapped up by the agile Alastair Cook at third slip.
Four overs later the same bowler sent down a straight, short-pitched delivery which smashed into McCullum's forearm.
Sporting a visible lump, the wicketkeeper-batsman was taken to hospital for an X-ray and, although no break was found, it was not decided if or when he might return with the bat.
That left Flynn and Oram to lead the fight, which by now had turned into one of survival, and they did so admirably.
With their primary objective to spend valuable time at the crease, the pair batted with caution but were by no means afraid to open up, as seen when Oram slog-swept Panesar over midwicket for six.
Another opportunity went begging for England when Oram edged Sidebottom high between second and third slips, but the all-rounder brought up the 50 stand and then hit a 67-ball half-century as New Zealand reached tea with a 157-run lead.
With news that McCullum would be fit to resume his innings at the fall of a wicket filtering through, Oram was able to adopt an even more carefree approach and he lashed Broad for three fours and Panesar for one.
He was dropped by Ian Bell off Panesar at short leg but, such was the power of the shot, it would have been a remarkable dismissal.
Oram's bludgeoning form continued as he clubbed Kevin Pietersen for a huge six over long-off before bringing up his fifth Test century and first against England with an unstoppable cover drive off Sidebottom for four.
Sidebottom exacted revenge by bowling Oram with the new ball but by then the damage had been done.
McCullum returned to add a quickfire 13 to his 11 but was caught behind off Anderson, and it was not long before the captains shook hands with Flynn - 29 runs and more than 40 overs later - still standing.
The second Test in the three-match series starts at Old Trafford on Friday and both sides will be hoping for better weather after three rain-affected days in London.
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