|Scorecard:||England v New Zealand|
|Event:||New Zealand in England 2013|
DateLine: 27th May 2013
By Andy Jalil at Headingley
In association with INVESTEC
Leeds Ė Having been set a highly unlikely target of 468 to win the second Investec Test and draw level in this two-Test series, New Zealand have little chance of even saving the match unless the weather intervenes. But with the poor weather forecast for the fifth day, there has been much speculation about the timing of Englandís declaration when they were so far ahead in terms of number of runs. There is almost a certainty that New Zealandís mediocre batting will not achieve the formidable target and there is a strong belief that Alistair Cook, the England captain should have declared much earlier or even at close of play on the third day when they were 296 ahead. Itís interesting to note that the highest successful run chase on this ground was in 1948 when Sir Don Bradmanís team had been set 404.
With New Zealand facing such a daunting task it didnít take long for England to claim the first wicket. Stuart Broad produced an excellent ball which rose sharply from not too short of a length and it flew off the shoulder of Peter Fultonís bat for a catch to gully. He had just five runs and the next man to be dismissed, Kane Williamson managed only three when Graeme Swann trapped him lbw. By then the tourist were on 40 with Hamish Rutherford on 26.
Swann, who had extracted good turn from the pitch in the touristsí first innings taking four for 42, again bowled with control and struck for the second time when Rutherford played forward to him and got an inside edge on to his pad for a simple catch at square leg. His 42 had come from 51 balls and New Zealand were 65 for three. Ross Taylor and Dean Brownlee dug in for a 141-ball stand adding 79 for the fourth wicket until Brownlee received a most difficult ball to play from Steve Finn. It was fast and rose sharply, following the batsman as he tried to fend and Brownlee could only glove it to gully for Ian Bell to take his second catch.
The next two wickets fell in quick succession, Swann had Martin Guptill edge to slip for 25 and in his next over he yorked Taylor for 70 which had spanned nearly two and three quarter hours. With that New Zealand were 154 for six and four runs later bad light stopped play with them needing 309 going into the fifth day.
Earlier, Cook, on 88 and Trott with 11, resumed their overnight partnership of 44 and Cookís first four of the morning, an effortless push straight up the field took him to 94. Two runs later he struck the 15th boundary of his innings, a lovely drive to extra cover, to bring up his 25th Test century from 152 balls. Trott, who had been over cautious on the third day in scoring 11 from 69 balls over an hour and a half showed a little more urgency.
His delicate late cut off Doug Bracewell took hin to 27 and later a reverse sweep off Williamson saw him to 44 before reaching his sixteenth Test half century and the second in this series from 126 balls. The scoring was much faster than on the previous day and Englandís two hundred came up in the 61st over, the last 50 of which was the quickest taking 66 balls.
The following over provided New Zealand with the breakthrough as Cook, on 130 from 190 balls, went down the pitch to off spinner Williamson intending to drive over the top and mistimed the shot to be held at mid-off. His knock, spanning just under four and a half hours, had given a solid platform to the England innings. Although Englandís overall lead at that stage was 386 with the benefit of 180 lead from the first innings, there was no declaration coming. But the intention thereafter was clear that the batsmen had to speed along. Ian Bell reverse swept the first ball for four and two runs later went for a slog/sweep but top-edged it for a catch at mid-wicket. Trott had progressed to 61 and soon got to 75 with the last of his eight boundaries, reverse sweeping a full toss. At lunch England were 249 for three, 429 ahead and surprisingly continued to bat into the second session.
Surely they couldnít be thinking of giving more practice to the batsmen before the important Ashes series to come when they have got the shorter form of the game with the Champions Trophy to be played before the contest with the Australians.
However, the second ball after the break brought Trottís wicket when he chased a ball from Neil Wagner outside off stump and was taken by a diving Brendon McCullum behind the stumps. Joe Root, the centurion of the first innings hit 28 from 22 balls and for quick scoring he went down the pitch to drive Wagner but was held at extra cover. He and Jonny Bairstow had added 19 and so did the latter and Matt Prior before England finally closed the innings on 287 for five and Williamson had three of those wickets for 68.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2013 Andy Jalil)