New Zealand again found Graeme Swann a difficult conundrum as the off-spinner bowled England towards another convincing victory in the second and final test on Monday. Swann confirmed he was back to his best after elbow surgery by adding four wickets to his quartet from the first innings and leave the tourists hoping for forecast rain to arrive and save them on the final day on Tuesday.
Set an improbable 468 to win at Headingley,New Zealand limped to 158 for six at the close with Ross Taylors determined 70 glueing together another fragile innings. Taylor and Dean Brownlie (25) had shared a fourth-wicket stand of 79 to hold up England who are certain to seal series triumph after their first-test victory at Lords.
Taylor survived two reviewed appeals but became Swanns fourth victim when he was beaten for flight,misjudged a drive and was bowled. Hes a world class bowler and had a bit of assistance with the footmarks…kept asking questions the whole innings, Taylor said of Swanns bowling. I felt comfortable against him and Im obviously disappointed to get out two overs before the close. I just went out there to play straight and with some instinct.
Praying for rain
Acknowledging England had thoroughly dominated the game,Taylor joked New Zealand needed the return of the downpours to save them. England are in the box seat and we need a little bit of help. Well have to wait and see when we pull back the curtains in the morning…something similar to the first day would be handy (when there was no play due to rain), he said.
Dismissed for 174 in their first innings,hot on the heels of their capitulation at Lords when they were skittled for 68,New Zealand again looked ill at ease at the crease. Stuart Broad,the instigator of New Zealands first test downfall with seven second-innings wickets,removed Peter Fulton for five with a ball that bounced sharply from a good length to catch the shoulder of the openers bat and give Ian Bell a simple catch at gully.
Broad struck Kane Williamson a painful blow on the arm before Swann was introduced into the attack and trapped New Zealands number three leg before for the second time in the match. The decision was upheld after a review.
Swann was celebrating again just before tea when Hamish Rutherford,who had batted with determination for his 42,got an inside edge on to his pad and was snaffled by Joe Root at short-leg. The spinner later induced a thick edge to send back Martin Guptill for three while Steven Finns pace accounted for Brownlie.
Earlier,England captain Alastair Cook completed his 25th Test century before falling for 130 and Jonathan Trott hit 76 as the hosts added 122 to their overnight total in the morning session and batted for a shade over 30 minutes after lunch before declaring on 287 for five.
Brief scores: England 354 & 287/5d ( A Cook 130,J Trott 76,K Williamson 3/68,N Wagner 2/57); vs New Zealand 174 & 158/6 in 54.4 ov (R Taylor 70,H Rutherford 42,G Swann 4/61)