Rain halts England victory push | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Rain halts England victory push

cricket Updated: May 28, 2013 20:17 IST

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England needed just two more wickets to win the second and final Test against New Zealand when rain forced an early lunch Tuesday on the fifth and final day in Leeds.

New Zealand were 219 for eight, needing a further 249 runs to reach their improbable victory target of 468 and so square the series at 1-1 after England's 170-run first Test win at Lord's.

Doug Bracewell was 19 not out and Neil Wagner nought not out, with only Trent Boult left to bat. Only 48 minutes play was possible in Tuesday's first session, which started late and ended early due to rain. New Zealand, 158 for six overnight, resumed with captain Brendon McCullum nought not out and paceman Tim Southee four not out.

But McCullum was out for one when he chipped a full toss back to Stuart Broad, the tall fast bowler getting down well to hold the low caught and bowled chance. That was the cue for an eighth-wicket stand of 56 between Southee and fellow seamer Bracewell. Southee defiantly hooked fast bowler Steven Finn for six. But on 24 he was dropped by Jonathan Trott at slip after edging off-spinner Graeme Swann, continuing to pose problems after taking four wickets on Monday Next ball Southee hoicked Swann for six. Bracewell joined in by cover-driving Finn for four and pulling him for six to bring up a fifty partnership with Southee in just 35 balls.

But Swann had his fifth wicket of the innings, and ninth of the match, when Southee, on 38, edged to slip and this time time Trott held the catch. The most any side has ever made in the fourth innings to win a Test is West Indies' 418 for seven against Australia in Antigua in 2002/03. England's first innings 354 featured Joe Root's 104, the Yorkshire batsman scoring his maiden Test century on his Headingley home ground.

In reply, New Zealand made 174, with Swann taking four for 42. But although England captain Alastair Cook was in a position to enforce the follow-on Sunday, as New Zealand were not within 150 of the hosts' total following Friday's first day washout , he decided to bat again. Left-handed opener Cook extended his own England Test century record to 25 on Monday with an innings of 130 -- seven of those centuries coming in the 11 matches since he became captain -- before declaring at 287 for five.