Is cricket still NZ's top summer sport?
New Zealand's drawn-out resistance finally ended in near farcical circumstances as England wrapped up a 247-run win in the second cricket test at Headingley.
Chasing a distant 468 to win but just trying to save the test, the tourists were skittled for 220 as they lost their last four wickets for 62 in 21.5 overs on the final day. England off-spinner Graeme Swann was the chief destroyer, taking 6-90 to give him 10 wickets for the match.
It saw England sweep the two-test series 2-0 and consigned New Zealand to a ninth defeat from their past 10 overseas test matches. Their gutsy 0-0 series draw at home in March is fast becoming a distant memory as the touring batsmen weren't up to the task at Lord's and Headingley.
After two separate rain delays, umpires Steve Davis and Marais Erasmus hauled the players back out at 3pm local time in gloomy light, with drizzle still falling and New Zealand eight down.
Swann broke down Doug Bracewell's stubborn 45-minute knock when he offered a bat-pad catch to silly point on 19.
Then Neil Wagner and Trent Boult saw out 48 scoreless deliveries in the gloom before the introduction of pace spearhead James Anderson did the trick.
With his third delivery he enticed the edge from Boult, who is battling a side strain, and it was taken by a diving Matt Prior to end the match at 3.37pm local time.
It looked as if rain would save New Zealand as the day dawned heavily overcast with persistent drizzle, with the tourists 158-6 in their second innings. The forecast was for periods of rain throughout the day, clearing later in the afternoon.
The weather broke long enough to allow 50 minutes of play before lunch as New Zealand added 61 runs for the loss of the key wickets of Brendon McCullum and Tim Southee.
McCullum fell in the third over of the final day as New Zealand plunged towards defeat, their best remaining batsman gone for one at a nearly deserted Headingley.
McCullum scooped a low full toss from England paceman Stuart Broad, and the bowler dived to snare a brilliant return catch just above the turf.
It ended a poor series with the bat for McCullum, who scored 31 runs from four innings. It also confirmed him as Broad's bunny as he dismissed McCullum on all four occasions, bowling full and straight.
Southee and Bracewell felt attack was the best method of defence as they blasted 56 off 41 balls for the eighth wicket. Southee took on the boundary fielders twice and won, hitting two sixes and four fours in his brisk 38 off 41 balls.
Swann and paceman Steve Finn, England's best bowlers of the test, zeroed in and finally broke the annoying stand.
Swann, who had Southee dropped by Jonathan Trott at slip on 24, found the edge again and Trott safely held the chance.
- © Fairfax NZ News