Rain halts Black Caps’ victory bid

New Zealand’s hopes of forcing a series-levelling win in the second Test against England have been dealt a blow after rain washed out most of the fourth day’s play at Headingley.

The Black Caps thrashed England’s bowlers for quick runs on Monday to leave the hosts facing a record chase to win the match.

But England, set a huge target of 455 for victory, were 0-44 when gentle but persistent rain stopped play.

In all, only 29 overs were possible on Monday – 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 Tuesday’s 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 6-338 to 8-454 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 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.

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

Mark 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 New Zealand 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.

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