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HELPING HAND FOR SERIES WIN CHANCE!

Byline: David Clough Sports Correspondent sport@examiner.co.uk

ENGLAND'S ambition will be curtailed but distinctly more achievable when they return to try to close out a series-clinching stalemate against New Zealand on the final day at Headingley.

When Alastair Cook and Adam Lyth began the hosts' second innings, it was on a highly improbable mission to rewrite Test cricket history in pursuit of 455 to pull off a new all-time highest run chase.

After almost two full sessions of rain, instead of another 158 overs in which to turn 44 without loss into a distant victory, they need only stretch out their 10 wickets for three sessions to draw the match - and win the Investec series 1-0. After the hectic happenings here and at Lord's in back-to-back Tests, England therefore have it within their grasp to begin their Ashes summer with a heartening success.

The notion that they could still press for 2-0 ought not to persist long into today.

A required rate of little more than four an over in a maximum 98 would not be out of keeping at all with the tempo set by their opponents over the last two weeks, and occasionally themselves.

But the risk-reward ratio favours conservatism, however outrageously Cook's ultra-adventurous opposite number Brendon McCullum chooses to dangle the carrot.

In the circumstances, with a forecast long suggesting a significant proportion of remaining playing time would be spirited away, McCullum might have reason to reproach himself for delaying his declaration until England's task - approaching lunch on day four - extended by 37 runs the most ever made to win in the fourth innings in almost 140 years.

CAPTION(S):

Hoylandswaine batsman SP Singh (above left) hit 38 against his old club Shepley while Barkisland's Seth Oddy (above right) had 34 in a losing cause against Woodlands

Rain is helping, but Alastair Cook still had a lot of batting to do to help save the Test at Headingley today

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Jun 2, 2015
Words:324
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