Bad light halts England's pursuit of victory in Christchurch

Bad light was England's worst enemy as New Zealand made it to 42-0 at stumps on day four of the second Test, requiring 340 runs to win.

England paceman James Anderson on day four of the second Test against New Zealand   -  Getty Images

Bad light was England's worst enemy as hosts New Zealand made it to 42-0 at stumps on the penultimate day of the second and final Test on Monday, still requiring another 340 runs for victory.

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England's bid to salvage something from their winless Test tour of Australia and New Zealand – having lost the Ashes series and the opening match against the Black Caps – was halted by fading light in Christchurch, where play was prematurely ended at Hagley Oval.

Joe Root opted to declare on 352-9 midway through day four – setting the Kiwis 382 for victory – ensuring ample time to claim the 10 wickets needed to level the series with dark clouds hovering.

Openers Jeet Raval (17 not out) and Tom Latham (25 not out), who was dropped by James Vince, weathered the early storm to steer New Zealand to 34 without loss at tea before they were aided by darkness at 16:00 local time – stumps officially called an hour later.

It was a slow start to proceedings on day four as Root and Dawid Malan settled in after resuming 202-3 on Monday.

Root and Malan both reached half-centuries – the England captain celebrating his 39th fifty, while the latter posted his sixth – with the tourists looking untroubled in the middle.

That was until New Zealand struck twice in three deliveries to rattle England as Root (54) and Malan (53) were sent back to the pavilion.

After toiling tirelessly, Colin de Grandhomme (4-94) got the wicket of Malan, who was caught at short midwicket for 53.

That lifted the Kiwis as Neil Wagner (2-51) claimed the scalp of Root, the skipper skimming a thin nick through to BJ Watling with England 262-5.

Ben Stokes (12) chipped into the midwicket region like Malan as he departed shortly after lunch – De Grandhomme doing the damage again.

Jonny Bairstow (36) should have been given out after replays showed he had nicked the ball behind but New Zealand were out of reviews, though De Grandhomme was at it again, this time his change of pace deceiving Stuart Broad (12).

Bairstow added some priceless runs to pull away from New Zealand before he fell to Wagner, after Mark Wood (9) was cleaned by the rampant De Grandhomme.

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