Leeds Test: Rain holds up New Zealand victory bid


LEEDS, ENGLAND: England, chasing 455 to pull off the highest successful run chase in test history, were 44 for no loss when rain ended play on day four of the second and final match of the series against New Zealand on Monday.

Captain Alastair Cook was 18 not out with Adam Lyth unbeaten on 24 when the bad weather forced the players off four overs after lunch and play was abandoned three hours later.

New Zealand had declared their second innings on 454 for eight after an entertaining morning session.

Resuming on 338 for six, the touring side plundered 116 runs in 75 minutes to close in on a series-levelling victory.

BJ Watling was caught at third slip by Joe Root off James Anderson for 120 after becoming the first New Zealander to score a test century at Headingley.

“I’m very proud to have achieved that,” Watling told a news conference. “I wasn’t really aware of it until I read it last night.

“We’ve still got 98 overs tomorrow to bowl them out and we are definitely backing ourselves. We have to concentrate on our skills, put the ball in the right areas and we can cause some problems.”

Mark Craig and Tim Southee added 67 runs off 53 balls before Southee, on 40, hit spinner Moeen Ali straight to Anderson at long-off but Craig continued to flay England’s attack on the way to an unbeaten 58.

Stuart Broad conceded 20 runs off one over and the England fast bowler was hammered for three more sixes in the final over before the declaration.

The highest successful fourth-innings run chase in tests was achieved by West Indies who made 418 for seven to beat Australia in Antigua in 2002-03.

“We’ve got quite a bit of work to do but we have the opportunity to do something special,” Root said.

“We’ve got every intention of winning the game and we feel very positive. The first hour will be important to set up the chase but it is still a good pitch and we need to come out with all guns blazing tomorrow.”

England won the first test at Lord’s by 124 runs. – Reuters