2 Jun 2015

Spin holds the key for Black Caps

3:10 pm on 2 June 2015

The Black Caps batsman BJ Watling believes spinner Mark Craig could hold the key to New Zealand's chances of claiming their first Test win in England in 16 years.

Rain washed out the majority of day four of the second Test at Headingley, leaving England 44 without loss heading into the final day.

The Black Caps spinner Mark Craig in action.

The Black Caps spinner Mark Craig in action. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The hosts need another 411 to pull off the highest successful run chase in Test history.

Watling, who was out for 120 after scoring his fifth Test century on day three, says Craig could prove vital on a pitch which isn't offering a lot to the seamers.

Watling says the wicket is a little bit up and down and a bit slow.

He says if Craig can land the ball on the right spot then there is a bit of turn and bounce, which hopefully will trouble the home side's batsmen.

Rain ended play just after lunchtime on the fourth day.

The Black Caps thrashed England's bowlers for quick runs at the start of play to leave the hosts facing a record chase to win the match.

But England, set a huge target of 455 for victory, were 44 without loss when gentle but persistent rain stopped play.

New Zealand's Tim Southee hits a four off James Anderson, during the second Test against England at Headingley.

New Zealand's Tim Southee hits a four off James Anderson, during the second Test against England at Headingley. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

In all, only 29 overs were possible on the fourth day - 13 in England's second innings - before the umpires called off play for the day at 4:59pm local time.

New Zealand will now have a minimum of 98 overs on the final day to take the 10 wickets they need to end the series all-square at 1-1 after their 124-run defeat in the first Test at Lord's last week.

Adam Lyth, who scored a maiden Test hundred in the first innings, is 24 not out with England captain Alastair Cook, who in the first innings became England's highest run-scorer in Tests, unbeaten on 18.

Earlier, New Zealand flayed the new ball all over Headingley as they extended their overnight 338 for six to 454 for eight declared.

In the face of some wayward bowling with the new ball, the Black Caps struck 116 runs in just 16 overs before captain Brendon McCullum called a halt.

England were left needing 455 for victory, with the most any side have made in the fourth innings to win a Test since the West Indies' 418 for seven against Australia at St John's, Antigua, in 2002/03.

England's corresponding record is 332 for seven against Australia at Melbourne back in 1928/29.

Watling resumed on exactly 100 not out after becoming the first New Zealand batsman to score a Test hundred at Headingley.

Craig (58 not out) was dropped on 23 when a diving Stuart Broad at mid-off failed to hold a tough chance off James Anderson.

Anderson's second delivery with the new ball removed Watling for 120, third slip Joe Root holding a fine catch.

Tim Southee cashed in, scoring 20 runs off Broad's first over including 18 in boundaries off four successive balls.

The big-hitting Southee fell for 40, off just 24 balls, when he drove off-spinner Moeen Ali to Anderson at long-on.

But it made little difference with the tourists hammering Broad for 19 runs in the last over before the declaration.

That over featured three sixes, one a straight drive by Craig and two from tailender Matt Henry, who ended the innings with a pull that sailed high over deep square leg.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs

We have regular online commentary of local and international sport.