Joe Root says England are still eyeing a win against New Zealand in the second Test at Headingley, insisting they will come out “all guns blazing” on the final day despite having to rewrite the record books to record a victory.
England were set a target of 455 to win when New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum declared on Monday’s fourth morning.
The scale of England’s task could be seen from the fact that no side have made more in the fourth innings to win a Test than the West Indies’ 7-418 against Australia at St John’s, Antigua, in 2002/03.
But in the 13 overs that were possible in their second innings on Monday they reached 0-44.
England now need a further 411 runs in a minimum of 98 overs – a run-rate of 4.19 per over.
They will resume with Adam Lyth, who made a maiden Test century on his Yorkshire home ground, 24 not out and England captain Alastair Cook, who in the first innings became England’s all-time leading Test runs scorer, unbeaten on 18.
And Root said England, 1-0 up in the two-match series after their 124-run win in the first Test at Lord’s last week, had no intention of playing for a draw.
“There’s quite a bit of work to do but we’ve got an opportunity to do something special,” Root said.
“Rain has made it a bit harder, but we’ve got every intention of going out tomorrow with a view to winning the game.”
New Zealand flayed the new ball over Headingley on Monday morning, scoring 116 runs in just 16 overs after resuming on 6-338, before skipper Brendon McCullum declared with the tourists 8-454 in their second innings.
BJ Watling, the first New Zealand batsman to score a Test century at Headingley, took his overnight 100 not out to 120 but his exit, which left the Black Caps 7-368, was the cue for a run-spree.
Tim Southee struck 40 off just 42 balls and Mark Craig an unbeaten 58 where 42 runs came in boundaries – nine fours and a six.
Stuart Broad’s first over Monday was smashed for 20 runs and when the paceman bowled what turned out to be the last over of the innings, he conceded 19 runs – including three sixes, two struck by tailender Matt Henry.
“Credit to the way they (New Zealand) came out and played (here) – they played really well,” said Root.
Meanwhile Watling, reflecting on his fifth Test century said: “I’m very proud but I hope it’s a match-winning one.
“We’ve still got 98 overs tomorrow, and a good 30 with the second new ball, so we are definitely backing ourselves to win the game.”
One frustration for New Zealand is that is this only a two-Test series, with the chance of more bad weather threatening to deny them a share of the spoils – a poor reward for their efforts at both Lord’s and Headingley.
“I’d like to think we probably deserve maybe one extra game to make it a three-Test match series,” said Watling.
“You are kind of just warming into it with two Tests. If we win and it’s one-all, it’s a bit of an anti-climax. It would be nice to have one more.”