Live Commentary: New Zealand vs. England: Second Test, day four - as it happened

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum hits his half century against England during the first test on March 8, 2013
© PA Photos
Live text commentary as New Zealand end day four on 162-2 with play abandoned early due to rain.

New Zealand started day four of the second Test against England on 77-1 having regrouped after being bowled out for 254 in their first innings.

Jimmy Anderson got an early breakthrough for England, dismissing Peter Fulton for 45 with the batsman edging to Alastair Cook at first slip.

New Zealand negotiated the first session and went in at 153-2, before rain almost saw the rest of the day washed out; there were just six more overs after lunch as New Zealand ended on 162-2.

Read below how the action unfolded with our live text commentary.


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9pmHello everyone and welcome back to our coverage of this second Test between New Zealand and England.

9.04pmA reminder of what has happened so far. England took their time in the first innings but set a good 465 on days one and two. In response, Stuart Broad was fantastic with the ball and helped his side to bowl New Zealand out for 254. New Zealand followed on and will start today on 77-1.

9.05pmHere is our summary of what happened on day three yesterday.

9.08pmThe weather was great for the first three days, but there is expected to be rain in the next two. That might not mean a washout, but it makes wickets for England today very important indeed. The latest is that we are expected to start on time.

9.13pmBroad's six-for was quite a turnaround for a player who has struggled in recent series. He was naturally delighted, telling Sky Sports News: "I'm delighted to have picked up 'five-for' in a Test match, but more importantly to have bowled New Zealand out to be able to enforce the follow-on, and I hope we'll get some early wickets tomorrow."

9.17pmThe early wickets or not is what will decide this Test. At least, what will decide it being an England win or whether the Black Caps can salvage a draw. Rain is forecast for around lunch, so if England have a few more wickets under their belt and New Zealand haven't reached the runs they need then they will be in command.

9.21pmBJ Watling wouldn't mind some rain, but he thinks his side can get themselves out of the current situation on merit, he told Sky Sports News. He said: "I think rain won't hurt us, but we've got a good chance to post 400 and get a lead of 200. Bowling on this wicket will then be interesting."

9.25pmI suppose the positive from an England point of view, should play be disrupted by rain, is that it will be hard for the New Zealand batsmen to settle. If they keep having to go in and out of the dressing room, it might be easier to take wickets.

9.29pmJust a couple of minutes away from this vital first session of the day. It's mildly sunny so far, so let's hope that lasts throughout the day.


9.30pmThe players are out there. Broad will take the ball first.

NZ 77-1It's a maiden up first for Broad, who bowls some good line and length deliveries. The rain has started already, but the umpires decide it's not enough to take the players off... yet.

NZ 78-1Jimmy Anderson comes in from the other end and Fulton gets himself an early single with a nudge off his pads. A good piece of fielding from Nick Compton at cover saves runs from a Williamson drive and just the one comes from the over.

NZ 81-1Broad continues and he gets a go at Fulton. He's found a good line early on; batsmen can't play at deliveries just outside off. A loose one goes into Fulton's pads and he clips away to midwicket for three.

NZ 81-2WICKET! Fulton (45) c Cook b Anderson

NZ 81-2Anderson gets Fulton to swing at one, but it kept low and went under the edge. A couple of deliveries later he does catch the edge from a nothing shot really, and Cook is solid as ever at first slip. Early breakthrough for England.

NZ 91-2Broad continues and Williamson dives him, but Finn gets a touch to save four. He drives again and this time it just didn't carry to Ian Bell and races for four. He then cuts the final ball to the fence to mark an expensive over, with 10 from it. Good bowling though from Broad - he'll get wickets forcing the batsmen into shots.

NZ 95-2Anderson has a go at the new batsman Ross Taylor, and he defends nicely to avoid the king pair. He's off a pair, however, as Kevin Pietersen misfields at extra cover to let him through for a single. Williamson gets three to the off side and Taylor defends the last ball.

NZ 95-2Another good over from Broad. This time Williamson is wary of a hint of swing and defends well, getting his whole body behind the bat.

NZ 100-2Bowling change for England as Monty Panesar comes into the attack and he immediately gets some huge spin short of a length. Another one catches the edge of Taylor's bat but away to safety. Williamson smacks a four to the leg side just to show he's not concerned about Monty's spin. That four brings up New Zealand's 100.

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NZ 101-2Steven Finn replaces Broad at the other end. Taylor clips him to leg early in the over for a single. Williamson almost plays at an excellent line delivery, but just pulls back in time and it's just the one from the over. New Zealand are 110 behind.

NZ 103-2Panesar continues and Taylor cannot get off strike quick enough with a push into the off side. Williamson gets one of his own and it's been very slow progress with the bat from New Zealand so far. They've hit 26 runs in almost 50 minutes.

NZ 103-2Finn comes in again and he's started with excellent line and length. Williamson doesn't go after any and as such another maiden goes by. They really don't want to lose any more wickets and it shows in their batting. The sun is out, but clouds still loom on the horizon.

NZ 104-2Panesar continues and he's now trying to tempt the batsmen to play with some slightly leg-side bowling. Eventually Taylor does play and gets a single for his troubles.

NZ 108-2Taylor, who is settling in now, cuts Finn behind point to the rope for four. He then goes after two slightly shorter ones in a row and is millimetres away from catching the edge on the second one. He escapes, however.

NZ 109-2The catchers come in close for Panesar's next over. It's Ian Bell, of course, at silly point. Williamson gets off strike with a single and Taylor blocks the final ball. Time for drinks.

NZ 111-2Finn carries on after the short break and he tries to nip one into Williamson's pads, but the batmsan clips it away for a single. Taylor squeezes a single of his own before Williamson firmly blocks the final ball off the back foot.

NZ 116-2Taylor steps up to half-volley a fullish Panesar delivery to the boundary for four. He takes one more run off the over and is playing Panesar quite well now. The weather is still looking lovely.

NZ 121-2Anderson comes back into the attack and Taylor immediately drives him through covers for four. They run a very quick single but he might have been in danger with a direct hit. Compton couldn't get his feet sorted to throw quickly enough.

NZ 121-2Panesar gets the right line there, seeing a delivery turn just past the edge of Taylor's bat. The batsman is pinned back for an over and it's an excellent maiden for Panesar.

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NZ 121-2Anderson carries on. Williamson is really solid on defence, leaving anything wide and blocking the rest and it's the second maiden over in a row. They still trail by 90.

NZ 125-2At the other end, Taylor is still scoring quickly. He latches on to a short one from Panesar and smacks him to the boundary for four. Those are the only runs and the Black Caps are edging slowly but surely towards putting England in again.

NZ 125-2It's another maiden for Anderson bowling to Williamson. Taylor, the new man, is now just 13 behind his teammate. The partnership is 44, England need a breakthrough.

NZ 127-2Panesar given the ball again and Taylor quickly gets off strike with a single. Williamson completely misses one that spins off the rough outside leg stump, but he too gets a single off the last ball.

NZ 129-2Williamson is determined not to play any silly shots here, to the point he's not playing any at all. As I say that, he pinches two with a nice shot to the leg side.

NZ 135-2Taylor plays a shorter one from Monty to the leg side for a single, and the bowler gets another go at Williamson who has looked a bit shaky against him. Williamson sweeps out of the leg side rough for one and Taylor whacks a four off the last ball. Six from a surprisingly expensive Panesar over.

NZ 139-2Spin from both ends now as Joe Root is introduced. Bell at short leg has to avoid a gift of a ball from Root that's sent packing by Williamson. Otherwise it was a good over from the youngster.

NZ 139-2Panesar bowling a good length now, pinning Taylor into his crease. He goes for a cut off the fourth ball, but couldn't clear the field. Good over from Monty and it's a maiden. Still sunny out there, but it's very windy.

NZ 147-2FIFTY FOR WILLIAMSON: Root continues and Williamson gets three off the first ball with a late push to the off side. Taylor sends him back with a single off his pads before Williamson opens his shoulders and pulls on his knees for a four to square leg, a shot that also brings up his half-century.

NZ 148-2Panesar is given another over and this time Taylor sees it out until the final ball where he retains strike with a single. I think there'll be one more over until lunch.

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NZ 153-2LUNCH: Jonathan Trott is given the ball for the final over of the session. Taylor gladly accepts a short one and cuts it to the deep backward square boundary. One more single ends the session, and I give that one to New Zealand.

11.36pmGood batting from New Zealand in that session and England get just one wicket. Rain was looking very likely at the end of that session, so I'd be surprised if the second session gets underway at the right time.

11.37pmEither way, I'm taking a break too, so be sure to join me again at around 12.15am for the second session.

12.16amHello everyone and welcome back to our coverage. I believe there was a bit of rain during the lunch back so the next session has been slightly delayed. Play is scheduled to restart at 12.30am.

12.22amEngland have a huge task on to win this game. New Zealand batted exactly as they'd have wanted in that session. Incredibly slow, safe cricket and as such they're still 58 behind England's first innings total. However these two should knock that off themselves the way they've been batting.

12.26amThe partnership is 72 after Fulton's wicket fell early in the session. Panesar has had a lot of turn, but if anything it's done too much to find any edges.

12.30amWell, play was due to start around now, but since then there's been more rain. The skies look dark and it's quite heavy, so there'll be a further delay. I'll obviously keep you updated.

12.35amIt's unclear as yet how heavy the rain is, but it didn't look terrible before. If it is or it isn't, the fact remains that the only team this will be helping is New Zealand. They did their bit with the bat, keeping wickets intact and the run rate down, perhaps now the weather will do the rest for them.

12.41amFor a reminder of what happened in the morning session, have a read of our roundup. It's set up for New Zealand to force England in to bat again and the more runs they get the more likely a draw becomes. There was a slight chance of them being able to win, but the weather conditions now mean the best they can hope for is a draw.

12.46amThe news is still not good from Wellington. The rain is still coming down, the umbrellas are still up in the crowd and the covers are still on the pitch. That means no cricket in the immediate future. I'll bring another update as soon as I can.


12.51amThis isn't the only Test match happening in the world at the moment. Australia are touring India, with day four of the third Test starting in a few hours. It's been intriguing so far, with the highlight being Shikha Dhawan's debut.

12.56amDhawan had previously made waves in the short-form versions of the game and he brought every inch of his batting talent to this Test. He's still not out and has hit a quite remarkable 185. Get this: it's from just 168 balls! Unheard of in Tests. You can read a summary of the action here.

1amMurali Vijay has also had a big say. He's still there on 83, albeit from more deliveries than Dhawan's 185. The morale must be rock-bottom for Australia at the moment as India are 283-0. They're through three days though, so Australia could still get a draw from it.

1.05amDhawan's was the fastest Test hundred on debut by any player. He played - and still is playing - like he's got 50 caps. There was certainly no sign of him being bowled or caught by the end of the day, so he could easily carry on into day four.

1.10amBack to New Zealand there's been no update as yet on the weather. At least no update on when or if play will resume. The last pictures I saw were of rain, and that will need to stop and remain stopped for a while before play can start again.

1.17amThe current 72 partnership between Williamson and Taylor is the third highest of the match so far. A vital one from a New Zealand perspective. They'd do very well to top Nick Compton and Jonathan Trott's 210 but are chasing down Steven Finn and Matt Prior's 83.

1.23amRain update: It did stop raining briefly, but not for long enough to take the covers off, let along resume play. So for now, we're still waiting patiently. It should give enough time for me to run through what's happened in this Test so far.

1.29amOn day one, New Zealand won the toss and they put England in to bat. At first, Brendon McCullum's decision looked to have paid off with the early wicket of Alastair Cook, but centuries from Trott and Compton, the latter dismissed soon after reaching triple figures, saw England to close in a commanding position of 267-2.

1.36amEngland compounded their position on day two. Prior went on to score 82 and Pietersen 73 as the tourists posted a good total of 465. In response, New Zealand fell to 66-3 and were looking in trouble at the end of the second day.

1.44amThen came a dominant day for England. At least, until the final session. Some resistance from McCullum - who else? - brought New Zealand to a more respectable total, but they were out for 254 and forced to follow-on. They regrouped and ended the day on 77-1, now with a draw as the main priority.

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1.50amSo on to day four, where rain was forecast. Instead, the whole first session was able to be completed, with New Zealand slowing the pace right down and reaching lunch at 153-2 for the loss of just Peter Fulton. Then, as expected, came the rains. Up to this point and hour and a half has been lost, and there's little sign of an improvement. When I hear anything, I'll bring it right to you.

1.55amIt's looking increasingly unlikely that there will be a result here, for the second Test running. There I was thinking that England was the only place whole days are lost from Tests. Remember, day one of the first Test in Dunedin was a complete washout.

2amNo word of any break in the rain yet. If I was a betting man, I wouldn't put much money on there being any further play today. We should be about half an hour from tea, but instead we've not had a ball bowled since lunch.

2.05amAccording to Adam Mountford on Twitter (@tmsproducer) the chief executive of Cricket Wellington is hopeful that there will be more play today. The rain has supposedly stopped and there will be an inspection at 2.30am GMT.

2.10amTea is being taken now, 20 minutes before the inspection. It's brightening up in Wellington, so we could have an evening session yet.

2.16amSo, all going well the umpires will give the pitch the okay and we'll resume before too long. That would give England a session to take eight wickets to win this today, while New Zealand just have to hang on. The rain is certainly helping the hosts, however, who wouldn't mind if the umpires don't deem the pitch playable.

2.19amJoin me again at about 2.30am then for the umpires' decision...

2.32amWelcome back all. I'm waiting for the official news, but I'm hearing the covers are off and the stumps are ready for cricket. I expect the evening session will begin shortly.

2.38amThe restart is expected at 2.50am. So all going well there should be a couple of hours of cricket left today. There's apparently rain in the surrounding areas of Wellington, but it's still clear at the ground for now.

2.42amBut wait... It's started raining again in Wellington, which means on go the covers again. If this rain is persistent this time, that could be that for the day.

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2.47amNo further announcement of how severe this rain shower is or whether it is expected to stop. From the pictures, it looks heavy again. Perhaps the day will be a washout.

2.52amThere's really not too much to analyse from today's action. We've seen just 76 runs and one wicket from an expectedly slow morning session. The entire second session has been washed out and the rain is in danger of seeing off the final session too. Play was expected to start around about now, but rain kicked in again so on went the covers once more.

3amAnother weather update: Rain, rain, rain. Still unlikely that there will be play in the immediate future. Personally, I don't see why they're hanging on. This doesn't look like improving for long enough to get play. The time it takes from the rain stopping to actually bowling a ball is more than enough for another shower to arrive.

3.06amLooking at the odds, I can see the bookies don't expect there to be too much more play for the next day and a bit. If you want to back the inevitable draw, you can get anywhere between 1/12 and the more optimistic 1/5.

3.11amIf you fancy a result, then England are massive favourites, but still long odds. They can be had between about 5/1 and 7/1, while the hosts are way, way back at anywhere from 100-325/1.

3.16amCovers update: More have gone on, it seems. There must have been other parts of the pitch getting wet on the outfield and instead of them gradually coming back off the layers are getting thicker! Still no word or official inkling of ending the day early.

3.21amThe fourth day is about to get underway in India, with the hosts to resume on 283-0, as I discussed earlier. I assume there won't be much rain there...

3.24amThe sun looks like it has come back out in Wellington. Worse than a British summer, this is. Will it stay out long enough for some play this time?

3.27amI believe play can go up until 6am if needed. So there could still be a couple of hours left in this, should the rain stay away for long enough.

3.33amThat's the last I've heard. Still no official announcement or planned inspection.

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3.35amThe ECB has tweeted that there will be another inspection in around 10 minutes time. The covers have come off, the sun is still out, so hope is raised once more for some cricket.

3.42amThree minutes away from the inspection. The sun is still out, which is promising. Remember, the last inspection had a time set for the resumption, then came the rain again.

3.45amMeanwhile, in India, Nathan Lyon has dismissed Dhawan for 187. He added just two to his overnight score and his dream debut is over.

3.49amDavid Lloyd has updated us on Twitter: "Start in 20 mins 22 overs left" he says. That should take us through until about 6am then.

3.50amWith that, I'll be back just before 4.10am with the resumption of play.

4.07amWelcome back. The England team are out, the umpires have just made their way to the middle, we're about to get started.

4.09amPretty much everyone has gone home now. The skies are blue, though, so the day will likely be extended and will probably go up until 6.30am. Panesar is up first.

NZ 153-2As so many of the overs have been today, Monty starts with a maiden. It's Stuart Broad who has been given the ball at the other end.

NZ 153-2Broad starts with a good length of bowling, but Williamson is wary of the dangerous early stages of a session and defends well. Still no run since the resumption of play.

NZ 157-2The first runs for many hours come through Taylor, who cuts very late to Panesar for four. It wasn't a bad delivery at all, just a great shot. Decent bowling from Monty in that over, but he goes for four all said.


NZ 159-2Broad starts his next over with a fine bouncer that Williamson has to get very low to get under. Williamson goes for a hook and it's in Pietersen's direction, but falls short of the fielder, just a run.

NZ 159-2Panesar carries on and it's another over of pitched-up, quick turnover bowling. As such, Taylor cannot manage a run and it's another maiden.

NZ 162-2Williamson cuts for two, but it would have been more but for a good stop by Compton at backward point. As the clouds start to loom again, Taylor sneaks a single to the leg side. The umpires confer, but they decide it's ok to continue in the drizzle. A bouncer ends the over.

4.33amIt's got heavier, and the umpires do indeed decide to take the players off again. Nine runs in six further overs, might that be it?

4.36amIt's been very frustrating so far and in truth, with time running out now I don't see much more hope of play. I could be wrong, though.

4.37amOnce again, I'll keep you updated with any news on the covers hokey cokey.

4.41amThe umpires have come back out and are considering whether to start again. The rain has stopped temporarily but it's looking very gloomy behind the pavilion area.

4.45amIt looks like they're going to come back out again. It didn't seem likely...

4.48amAlthough that decision might have been premature, as it's looking like rain again. It's clearly visible now, not lashing down but too heavy to get back out there. Utterly frustrating.

4.50amStumps have been taken back out. Just call it a day, surely? This is incredible, really, the rain is not hard at all but just hard enough and it's so start-stop.

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4.54amPLAY ABANDONED FOR THE DAY!

4.55amSo, it's official. No more play. It'll be a draw surely, especially considering that more rain is forecast.

4.56amThanks for joining me tonight and please do pop in tomorrow for day five. Hopefully we'll have some more play. Good night/morning.

Stuart Broad
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