England v New Zealand: Rain ends play early in second Test
Last updated on .From the section Cricket
|Second Test, day four, Headingley|
|New Zealand 350 & 454-8 dec: Watling 120, Craig 58*|
|England 350 & 44-0|
|England target: 455|
England's chances of saving the second Test against New Zealand were boosted by the Headingley rain.
Bad weather arrived four overs after lunch on the fourth day and prevented any further play.
England, who lead the two-match series 1-0, had reached 44-0 by that time in pursuit of a Test record 455 to win.
New Zealand had earlier plundered 116 runs in 16 overs to declare on 454-8, with Mark Craig hitting an unbeaten 58 and Tim Southee 40 off 24 balls.
At the time of the declaration, England had more than five sessions to bat, enough time to pull off a fanciful chase but too much for the draw to seem a realistic possibility.
Now, with all 10 wickets intact, with which to negotiate the final day, England could yet escape with the draw that would give them a series victory.
|New Zealand's run-rate of 4.92 is the best for any team who have scored more than 800 runs in a Test, beating the previous record of 4.6 set by Australia against South Africa in Adelaide in 2012.|
Weather permitting, they will resume with Adam Lyth unbeaten on 24 and captain Alastair Cook 18 not out.
The opening pair negotiated 13 overs, Lyth in particular playing a number of eye-catching strokes through the off side.
But New Zealand off-spinner Craig found enough assistance to suggest that he will trouble England's seven left-handers on the final day.
Craig played his part in another riotous opening session as England's attack once again had few answers to a New Zealand lower-order assault.
The Black Caps scored at more than seven runs per over, with Craig adding 43 from the 42 balls he faced.
He and Southee were dropped as England committed more errors in the field - Craig offered a tough diving chance to a diving Stuart Broad off James Anderson on 24, while a Southee edge off Mark Wood was watched to the boundary by Ian Bell and Joe Root in the slips. At the time, Southee had only one.
|Clearing the rope|
|Eight players in the New Zealand innings hit a six, the first time that has happened in a Test|
He capitalised to dish out fierce punishment to Broad, who once again resorted to an excess of short-pitched bowling.
Southee took 20 from one over, including three fours and one straight six, while Craig also played one glorious lofted drive off Broad over long-off.
Their partnership, which began after Anderson found bounce with the new ball to have overnight centurion BJ Watling well held at third slip by Root for 120, yielded 77 runs in 8.4 overs.
Southee eventually heaved Moeen Ali's off-spin to Anderson at long-on, but there was still time for number 10 Matt Henry to hook Broad for two sixes.
The declaration came straight after, with New Zealand set for a win that would draw the series.
Instead, the Leeds weather may have already played its part in saving England.