2nd Investec Test, Leeds, May 29 - June 02, 2015, New Zealand tour of England
350 & 454/8d
(T:455) 350 & 255

New Zealand won by 199 runs


Craig, Williamson spin NZ to famous win

New Zealand wrapped up victory in the second Test by 199 runs with time to spare, levelling the series and extending their unbeaten run

New Zealand 350 (Ronchi 88, Latham 84, Broad 5-109) and 454 for 8 dec (Watling 120, Guptill 70, Craig 58*, McCullum 55) beat England 350 (Lyth 107, Cook 75, Southee 4-83) and 255 (Buttler 73, Cook 56, Williamson 3-15) by 199 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Hearts and minds are one thing but what New Zealand really wanted to win was this Test. At Headingley, the ground where they first claimed a Test victory in England more than 30 years ago, they had to battle the weather, which took almost a day out of the game, and an England side still swaggering from their heroics at Lord's last week.
They overcame both with time to spare, having scored 804 runs at almost five an over and twice rattled through England with pace, swing and, on the final day, spin. Every member of the side contributed to their victory in the second Investec Test, one which levelled the series and preserved a two-year unbeaten run. In 54 Tests against England in England, it was only New Zealand's fifth victory and their first of the 21st century.
Mark Craig followed some lower-order slugging and immaculate slip catching with three wickets on a wearing surface, finishing England's resistance by having Jos Buttler lbw without playing a shot. Kane Williamson also picked up three-for with his part-time offspin, after Trent Boult, the joint-leading wicket-taker on either side, had struck twice early on to set New Zealand on their way.
That England extended the game into the final session was chiefly down to dogged half-centuries from Buttler and Alastair Cook. Obdurate crease occupation is Cook's greatest strength and he absorbed 171 balls in making 56, bowing his head over the bat like a monk at prayer. Buttler showed a different side to his game by playing with admirable restraint during his lengthiest Test innings, in terms of balls faced.
England had gone to lunch five down, any bravado about attempting to chase 455 scattered to the far corners of the Yorkshire Ridings. Cook was their chief hope of saving the game but he fell shortly after having become the youngest man to record 9000 Test runs - when he failed in an attempt to reverse his lbw decision against Williamson, who struck in the first over of a spell for the second time, Brendon McCullum knew things were going his way.
Buttler made it through to tea, surviving a review for caught down the leg side off Tim Southee and a working over by Matt Henry, who followed a throat ball with one that took the outside edge and fell short of slip; Buttler also required treatment after a length delivery from Henry leapt to strike him a vicious blow on the hand. He was later doubled up by the same bowler, winded by a blow to the stomach. It was an apt representation of England's pummelling.
New Zealand had enjoyed a perfect morning, Boult and Craig taking two wickets apiece in the first hour to help New Zealand once again seize the initiative. Only a scattering of spectators had braved another icy day - despite reduced ticket prices - as the people of Yorkshire wisely decided England were not worth the investment. This was a working Tuesday, after all, and England did not get close to replicating the final-day drama served up against Sri Lanka at Headingley a year ago, never mind their Auckland rescue act against McCullum's New Zealand in 2013.
Still, for the couple of thousand in attendance as well as those watching on television screens around the world, there was much to admire in the way New Zealand went about their business, each wicket celebrated with joyous collective abandon. McCullum's side have not lost a Test series since their last visit to England and they have won many more admirers besides for the spirit in which they approach a challenge.
It made the absence of a deciding Test all the more disappointing, though both sides could take credit from the fact that no two-match series has ever enjoyed such a glut of run-scoring (not to mention 78 wickets as well).
If England did intend to play positively and keep the threat of a world-record run chase in the back of Kiwi minds, it was not easy to discern. Five of the first six overs were maidens, one of which included the wicket of Adam Lyth, caught behind after nicking yet another good one from Boult. With Boult making the ball swing under grey skies and McCullum able to do much as he pleased with his fielders, England regressed into the defensive posture that has frequently cost them in recent years.
Lyth was always the likelier of England's openers to press New Zealand back with his strokeplay but his dismissal without adding to his overnight score brought the seemingly ill-at-ease Gary Ballance to the middle. Despite an attempt to counter a perceived weakness against full, swinging deliveries by batting out of his crease (before stepping back in as per his trigger movement), he was undone by the skills of Boult for the second time in the match. Lightning struck twice, this time via a full ball deflecting off the pads and into off stump.
The offspinner Craig, who England dealt with brusquely at Lord's, was able to settle into a rhythm from the Kirkstall Lane End and he gained rich reward halfway through the session, removing Ian Bell and Joe Root within the space of three deliveries.
Both fell to excellent leg-side catches, though the decision making - from Bell in particular - was questionable. Having seen McCullum instruct Kane Williamson to go and stand at leg slip, Bell went back into his crease and steered the ball obligingly straight to the fielder, who scooped it off the ground with glee. Root struck his leg glance much more powerfully, only for Tom Latham's woolly jumper to absorb the impact and his hands to gratefully clutch the ball.
Root had declared on the fourth evening that England still had a chance of chasing 455 but a slim chance had become no chance by the time he was the fourth batsman out inside the first hour. England attempted the talk but it was New Zealand who walked it.

Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @alanroderick

AskESPNcricinfo Logo
Instant answers to T20 questions
England Innings
<1 / 3>