|Scorecard:||England v New Zealand|
|Player:||GP Swann, AN Cook|
|Event:||New Zealand in England 2013|
By Andy Jalil at Headingley
Leeds – With inclement weather prevailing it took nearly two sessions of what would have been normal playing time for England to wrap up the second Investec Test of this two-Test series with a comprehensive 247-run win. Just 22 overs were bowled on the day with the long break for rain from which New Zealand’s remaining four wickets added 62, needing a colossal 310 for an improbable win.
Man of the match Graeme Swann's most effective spin bowling gave him six wickets for 90 in the second innings and career best figures of ten for 132. It is the best figures by a spinner on the ground – which has a reputation of not favouring spin – since Derek Underwood had ten for 82 against Australia in 1972.
The defeat adds to New Zealand’s poor record at Headingley where they have suffered five defeats in seven Tests with one victory three decades ago. The result also ended England’s spell of three previous Tests without a win at this venue and they now remain unbeaten from their last eight Tests after going down to India by nine wickets in Ahmedabad last November.
England captain, Alistair Cook, who hit his 25th Test century in the second innings said: “It was a great performance here and to win by a big margin like that was great for the lads. It was fantastic for Joe Root to get a hundred in pretty tough batting conditions on the first day, the ball swung all day, it was credit to New Zealand bowlers.” He added: “Winning these two games is good momentum to have and winning them quite well gives confidence.”
With rain through the night as well as earlier in the morning play didn’t get underway on the final day until 15 minutes before midday. When it did, it only lasted for 47 minutes before rain brought a lengthy stoppage but that brief period of action was time enough for England to claim two of the remaining four wickets. New Zealand had added just four runs to their overnight score of 158 for six when Stuart Broad, in his second over, took a low return catch from Brendon McCullum.
New Zealand total increased rapidly later with the eighth wicket pair of Tim Southee and Doug Bracewell merrily slogging in a 56-run stand. Southee helped himself to a six off Steve Finn with a pull and then hit a four in the next over before being dropped at slip off Swann. He celebrated the missed catch with a six struck next ball over wide mid-wicket.
Bracewell’s hard-hitting stint included a four and a six in one over off Finn before Swann put an end to the partnership. On 38, Southee edged to slip as he played forward looking for the spin which wasn’t there and the tourists were 218 for eight. A run later rain stopped play and lunch was taken early.
It was two-and-a-half hours before play re-started and Swann struck within ten minutes as Bracewell on 19, was beaten by the spin and offered a pad and bat catch which was well taken one handed by Ian Bell at silly point. It was the second wicket for the off spinner on the day in a space of 12 balls without conceding a run and the sixth in the innings in addition to his four in the first.
The last wicket pair resisted for a half hour without adding a run before James Anderson was brought on for the first time on the day and his third ball brought the match to an end finding the edge of Trent Boult’s bat. Neil Wagner’s stubborn resistance lasted as long as three quarter of an hour to remain not out without scoring, having faced 37 balls. That was the kind of fight-back to be expected from the recognised batsmen earlier.
New Zealand’s main chance of drawing the match depended on the rain which had been forecast and the captain Brendon McCullum admitted: “We had high hopes of holding out for a draw but it wasn’t to be and England deserved to win.”
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2013 Andy Jalil)