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Rain thwarts New Zealand’s victory bid

Set a record chase of 455, England reaches 44 without loss before skies open up on fourth day of Headingley Test

Rain thwarts New Zealand’s victory bid - Cricket News
Alastair Cook and Adam Lyth walk off after rain stopped play.

Rain thwarted New Zealand’s immediate hopes of victory in the second Test at Headingley, washing out play on the fourth day shortly after lunch.

It had been a fantastic day for the visiting side, who, resuming on 338 for 6, added 116 runs in just 16 overs on Monday (June 1), declaring on 454 for 8 after another whirlwind session of cricket.

It meant England would require a world record chase of 455 if it were to beat New Zealand, eclipsing the 418 chased down by the West Indies against Australia in 2003, with Brendon McCullum’s side having a hefty 171 overs in which to bowl the home side out.

BJ Watling and Mark Craig had started the morning in very much the same vein as the night before, flaying England’s bowlers to all parts of the ground, to take their seventh wicket partnership past 50.

Eventually though Watling perished to the second new ball, James Anderson getting one to lift off the pitch and fly off the shoulder of the centurion’s bat for Joe Root to take a smart diving catch at third slip. It brought an end to a fantastic innings from Watling, whose 120 from 163 balls provided the backbone to New Zealand’s substantial total. 

However, the scalp didn't bring respite for the bowlers, as Tim Southee, the new man, along with the well-set Craig merely upped the ante. 

Southee, a man who has the same amount of Test match sixes as AB De Villiers but in 95 fewer innings, played with freedom, and swung the bat, which proved to be a mighty effective tactic. He and Craig added a further 67 for the seventh wicket, the latter bringing up an impressive half-century moments before Southee eventually holed out to long-on.

Despite only facing four balls, there was still time for Matt Henry, New Zealand’s No.10, to smash two consecutive sixes off Stuart Broad,  before McCullum called his troops in, making it the first time eight different batsman have struck sixes in one innings.

England fared better with the bat than it had with the ball, Alastair Cook and Adam Lyth seeing off a potentially testing half-hour before lunch with relative ease to be 32 without loss at the break. 

The pair looked untroubled again after lunch, taking the score to 44, before the rain arrived to end the day.

To see the full scorecard of this match, please click here.

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