England beat New Zealand to take Test series 2-0

 

Second Test, Headingley, day five

England 354 & 287-5 dec beat New Zealand 174 & 220 by 247 runs

Match scorecard

A relieved England just found time between the rain showers to wrap up a 247-run victory over New Zealand in the second Test and with it a 2-0 series sweep.

Test Match Special analysis

Swann is a special off-spinner - he's far more aggressive than mean old off-spinners of the past like Illingworth, Titmus or Emburey. He is the one man for whom England don't have cover in the Ashes, even with Monty Panesar around. With all those left-handers, he can be very effective. England could have been more ruthless at times, but 247 runs is a massive victory, and most of their side is operating well.

On a tense final day at Headingley, England needed 86 minutes in two separate passages of play to take the final four New Zealand wickets they required for victory.

Stuart Broad caught and bowled captain Brendon McCullum in the third full over of the day and Graeme Swann broke an entertaining 56-run partnership when he had Tim Southee caught at slip for 38.

After an anxious two-and-a-half-hour rain stoppage, Swann removed Doug Bracewell to claim a 10-wicket match haul and James Anderson had last man Trent Boult caught behind as New Zealand were finally bowled out for 220.

Swann, controversially left out for last year's Test here against South Africa, became the first spinner to take a 10-wicket Test haul at Headingley since Derek Underwood in 1972.

England's failure to bowl out New Zealand on Monday night, coupled with Tuesday's forecast of heavy rain, had threatened to deny the hosts victory.

But after an early morning downpour the rain eased off, allowing play to start at 11:45 BST, with New Zealand - chasing an improbable 468 to win - resuming on 158-6.

England soon broke through, Broad stooping to claim a fine return catch when Kiwi skipper McCullum pushed a full toss back towards the bowler.

Southee threw the bat in his characteristic manner to reach 38 before he nicked Swann to slip where Jonathan Trott - who had dropped a similar chance moments earlier - held on.

However, with England two wickets away from victory, the players were taken off for rain.

With the tension mounting and light rain still falling from dark grey clouds, Cook finally crowded men round the bat.

And the tactic worked as Bracewell was taken low for 19 by Ian Bell at silly point to give Swann his 10th wicket of the match.

New Zealand's numbers 10 and 11 then battled through eight runless overs to increase England's frustrations.

England's top Test wicket-takers

James Anderson
  • Ian Botham - 383 wickets, Tests 102, average 28.40
  • Bob Willis - 325 wickets, Tests 90, average 25.20
  • Fred Trueman - 307 wickets, Tests 67, average 21.57
  • James Anderson - 307 wickets, Tests 82, average 30.14
  • Derek Underwood - 297 wickets, Tests 86, average 25.83

But the decision to replace Swann with Anderson paid immediate dividends as the Lancashire paceman found the edge of Boult's bat to spark overdue celebrations among the England players.

It was Anderson's 307th Test wicket, moving him level with Fred Trueman in third place on England's all-time list.

The hosts will be delighted to have won the series so convincingly, but questions remain over a safety-first approach that left the outcome of the match at the mercy of the weather.

Cook declined to enforce the follow-on on day three despite a 180-run first innings lead over a side they had skittled out for 68 and 174 in their two previous innings, and then chose to delay a declaration until New Zealand required 468 - 50 runs more than the highest successful run chase in Test history.

Despite such a healthy cushion, Cook eschewed the option of all-out attack on Monday afternoon and frequently fielded men on the boundary to contain the flow of runs.

Cook will no doubt argue that the ends justify the means but greater aggression may be called for when England begin their quest for a third straight Ashes win at Trent Bridge on 10 July.

Match scorecard