Graeme Swann helps England towards win over New Zealand
Second Test, Headingley (day four)
England 354 & 287-5 dec v New Zealand 174 & 158-6
Graeme Swann took four wickets to bowl England to the brink of victory over New Zealand in the second Test at Headingley, although they may yet be denied by the weather.
England captain Alastair Cook brought up his 25th Test century as the hosts batted until 25 minutes after lunch before declaring on 287-5 to set the Black Caps an improbable 468 to win.
A composed 70 from Ross Taylor frustrated England, with the tourists aided at times by surprisingly defensive field placements, but two late Swann scalps reduced them to 158-6 when bad light ended play.
Four more wickets on Tuesday would win the match for Cook's men, but with heavy rain forecast for the Leeds area, the contest may well end in a draw.
Alastair Cook's Test centuries
- 5 v India
- 4 v Australia & West Indies
- 3 v Pakistan & Sri Lanka
- 2 v South Africa, New Zealand & Bangladesh
That result would give England a 1-0 series victory but the feeling remains that with less cautious approach the hosts could have won this Test with time to spare.
Their decision not to enforce the follow-on on Sunday was followed by a painstaking final session in which Jonathan Trott scored 11 off 69 balls.
And although England showed much more attacking intent on Monday morning, with Trott going on to make 76, they then delayed declaring until New Zealand's target was 50 runs more than the highest successful fourth-innings run chase in Test history.
New Zealand lost an early wicket when Stuart Broad generated steep bounce from the Football Stand End and induced Peter Fulton into fending a catch to Ian Bell at gully.
Swann, surprisingly left out for last year's Headingley Test against South Africa, followed up his first-innings four-wicket haul with two more strikes early in his spell.
Kane Williamson fell to the most marginal of lbw decisions after playing across the line, his failed review showing the ball pitched just in line with off stump and turning to shave the outside of leg.
Hamish Rutherford struck an attractive 42 but a sudden moment of hesitancy proved his downfall as he prodded forward and was caught at short leg off bat and pad.
Taylor batted positively but never recklessly as he compiled his 19th Test fifty, Dean Brownlie proving an able foil in a partnership of 79.
He had a couple of close shaves along the way, with the Decision Review System twice working in his favour.
Test Match Special analysis
"England should win in a couple of hours tomorrow, though they could have won quicker if they'd been more ruthless. Most people would have put New Zealand in again. But I don't want to be too critical of England as they've outplayed New Zealand here, whether they win or not."
When he had 48, Finn had a close lbw appeal turned down and upheld on review and on 68, Taylor was given out caught behind off Swann only for HotSpot to reveal no contact with his bat.
Brownlie made 25 before he was caught at gully off a Finn delivery that reared up sharply and Martin Guptill was caught by Trott at slip off Swann.
When Taylor missed a loose drive to be bowled by the off-spinner, England sensed victory, but with the light deteriorating the umpires decided to take the players off the field 6.2 overs shy of the scheduled close.
England had started the day in positive mode, racking up 133 runs in 29 overs before lunch.
Cook reached his hundred off 152 balls with a sumptuous off drive and Trott advanced fluently to his 16th Test fifty.
Two wickets fell in quick succession to part-time spinner Kane Williamson as Cook miscued a drive to mid-off and Ian Bell holed out to midwicket.
Trott was out for 76 to the second ball after lunch, wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum diving to his right to claim a superb two-handed catch.
Joe Root made an innovative 28 off 22 balls before slapping to cover in the chase for quick runs and Jonny Bairstow launched occasional spinner Guptill into the stands on his way to 26 before Cook finally called time on the innings.
Tuesday's weather is likely to decide whether he left it too late.