Wed, Jun 03, 2015 - Page 20 News List

New Zealand poised to level series

Reuters, LEEDS, England

England’s Ben Stokes dejectedly leaves the field after being dismissed on the fifth day of their Test match against New Zealand in Leeds, England, yesterday.

Photo: Reuters

New Zealand ripped through England’s top order to close in on a series-leveling victory as the hosts limped to 102 for five at lunch on the last day of the second and final Test yesterday.

England, chasing a record 455 to win, lost four wickets in the first hour and the dismissal of Ben Stokes late in the session completed an excellent morning for the touring side.

Captain Alastair Cook was unbeaten on 40 at the interval with Jos Buttler on zero.

Gary Ballance unconvincingly negotiated 25 deliveries for six runs before Boult produced a venomous full delivery that crashed into the left-hander’s stumps.

Ian Bell, on one, turned a bouncing ball from spinner Mark Craig straight into the hands of Kane Williamson at leg-slip and Joe Root was brilliantly caught off Craig for a second-ball duck by Tom Latham at short leg.

With England’s slim hopes of victory all but over, Cook and Stokes adopted a cautious approach, although the all-rounder produced a couple of trademark crisp boundaries to entertain a sparse crowd on a chilly day at Headingley.

The pair added 40 for the fifth wicket before Stokes was out for 29, caught by Ronchi as he attempted an ambitious cut off part-time spinner Williamson.

England were 44 for no loss when rain ended play on day four on Monday afternoon.

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.

England resumed on 44 for no wicket and Adam Lyth failed to add to his overnight score of 24, feathering a swinging ball from paceman Trent Boult through to wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi.

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

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.

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 2002-2003.

“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,” he said.

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

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