Oram's proudest moment
New Zealand all-rounder Jacob Oram savoured the "proudest moment" of his career after an innings of 101 ensured the first Test against England here at Lord's was drawn.
When Oram came to the crease on Monday's final day, after wicketkeeper and leading batsman Brendon McCullum had retired hurt on 11, New Zealand were only 78 runs ahead at 120 for four in their second innings.
But the tall left-hander denied England any chance to win the opening match of this three-Test series with a superb 120-ball century featuring a six and 15 fours.
And when England took the new ball with Oram on 89, there were no signs of the nervous 90s as he raced through to a fifth Test hundred with three fours off bogey bowler Ryan Sidebottom.
"It's the proudest moment of my career so far, it's surpassed anything I've ever done before," said the 29-year-old Oram, appearing in his 28th Test.
"I rode my luck a bit, and to be honest I couldn't give a toss how it really looked because at the end of the day it's a hundred and it's on the honours board now," he added after his first Test century against England.
"This wasn't technically my best work and I'm still having problems at some stages of the innings, especially against one bowler in particular," explained Oram in a reference to left-arm swing specialist Sidebottom.
Oram's hundred was his first Test century since making 117 against Bangladesh in January at Dunedin and his first against major opposition since his Test-best 133 against South Africa at Centurion two years ago.
He averaged just 12 during England's 2-1 Test series win in New Zealand in March and admitted: "I've been pretty lean for runs lately.
"That's why they call it Test cricket. It's a good challenge and I'm just so proud to come out the other side in a positive way."
New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori never had any doubts about the worth of Oram, a similarly key figure for his side as is currently injured all-rounder Andrew Flintoff for England.
"He's first pick in our team," said left-arm spinner Vettori, chosen as man-of-the-match for his five wickets, of the pace bowler.
"Whenever we don't have him in our side through injury we have to decide whether to pick a batter or a bowler.
"Everyone saw how well he bowled (Oram took two wickets for 45 runs in 19 overs). He's been bowling exceptionally well for a long time."
Vettori added: "Maybe his batting hasn't been as good as he would have liked for a little bit but he came out today and played his natural game.
"There weren't too many worries for him. When he plays like that, he's as good as anyone."
Vettori said Oram's innings was a vindication of the decision he'd made, together with New Zealand coach John Bracewell, to drop Oram down the order to No 7 and promote McCullum to No 5 with newcomer Daniel Flynn taking the all-rounder's old spot at six.
"The moves John and myself have made to move Brendon up to No5 and Jacob down to No7, to relieve him of a little bit of pressure in terms of workload and the expectations of No 6, really paid off in this Test.
"Anyone with five Test hundreds against tough opposition on tough grounds, shows how good a player he is," Vettori insisted. "He's still got a lot of cricket left in him, so we can expect a lot more hundreds."