Headingley Test: Root promises England will come out 'all guns blazing'
Joe Root insisted England were still eyeing a win against New Zealand in the second Test at Headingley, insisting they would come out "all guns blazing" on Tuesday's final day despite having to rewrite the record books to record a victory.
Leeds, United Kingdom: Joe Root insisted England were still eyeing a win against New Zealand in the second Test at Headingley, insisting they would come out "all guns blazing" on Tuesday's final day despite having to rewrite the record books to record a victory. England were set a target of 455 to win when New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum declared on Monday's fourth morning.
The scale of England's task could be seen from the fact that no side have made more in the fourth innings to win a Test than the West Indies' 418 for seven against Australia at St John's, Antigua, in 2002/03. But in the 13 overs that were possible in their second innings on Monday they made 44 without loss. England now need a further 411 runs in a minimum of 98 overs -- a run-rate of 4.19 per over.
They will resume with Adam Lyth, who made a maiden Test century on his Yorkshire home ground, 24 not out and England captain Alastair Cook, who in the first innings became England's all-time leading Test runs scorer, unbeaten on 18. And Root said England, 1-0 up in the two-match series after their 124-run win in the first Test at Lord's last week, had no intention of playing for a draw.
"There's quite a bit of work to do but we've got an opportunity to do something special," Root told reporters after Monday's close. "Rain has made it a bit harder, but we've got every intention of going out tomorrow with a view to winning the game." New Zealand flayed the new ball over Headingley on Monday morning, scoring 116 runs in just 16 overs after resuming on 338 for six, before skipper Brendon McCullum declared with the tourists 454 for eight in their second innings.
BJ Watling, the first New Zealand batsman to score a Test century at Headingley, took his overnight 100 not out to 120 but his exit, which left the Black Caps 368 for seven, was the cue for a run-spree. Tim Southee struck 40 off just 42 balls and Mark Craig an unbeaten 58 where 42 runs came in boundaries -- nine fours and a six. Stuart Broad's first over Monday was smashed for 20 runs and when the paceman bowled what turned out to be the last over of the innings, he conceded 19 runs -- including three sixes, two struck by tailender Matt Henry.
"Credit to the way they (New Zealand) came out and played (here) -- they played really well," said Root. "Watling played an exceptional knock, and towards the end they probably got a hundred more than we'd have liked really." - Anti-climax - Meanwhile Watling, reflecting on his fifth Test century -- made against the backdrop of a knee injury which prevented him keeping wicket at Headingley -- said: "I'm very proud but I hope it's a match-winning one.
"We've still got 98 overs tomorrow, and a good 30 with the second new ball, so we are definitely backing ourselves to win the game." England often bowled short at New Zealand's tail but the likes of Southee and Henry had few problems playing the pull shot. "I guess it's been a plan to the tail, to scare them with a few bumpers and chuck in some full ones but our boys can generally play the short ball pretty well, pretty aggressively," said Watling.
One frustration for New Zealand is that this only a two-Test series, withe the chance of more bad weather threatening to deny them a share of the spoils -- a poor reward for their efforts at both Lord's and Headingley. "I'd like to think we probably deserve maybe one extra game to make it a three-Test match series," said Watling. "You are kind of just warming into it with two Tests. If we win and it's one-all, it's a bit of an anti-climax. It would be nice to have one more."