England must set a new record for the highest fourth innings run chase if they want to avoid defeat to New Zealand in the second Test at Headingley.
The Black Caps added 116 to their overnight score of 338/6, for the loss of just two wickets, before declaring on 454/8 to set England a target of 455 to win the final Test in the series.
The current record chase stands at 418, when Ramnaresh Sarwan and Shivnarine Chanderpaul, with the help of Brian Lara, shocked Australia in Antigua in 2003.
England’s highest successful run chase is by comparison a paltry 332, chased down in 1928 in a timeless Test against Australia in Melbourne – a Herbert Sutcliffe century helping to see off a bowling attack including the great leg spin bowler Clarrie Grimmett.
New Zealand’s total is the fourth highest third innings total ever made at Headingley, just three runs behind the 457 Sri Lanka amassed at the ground last year as England succumbed to a 100-run defeat.
If England were to chase down the gargantuan target they would obviously also set a new highest run chase record for Headingley, which previously stood at 404 – the fourth highest successful chase in history – when Don Bradman, along with Arthur Morris, put England to the sword.
Brendan McCullum’s declaration, 40 minutes before lunch on Day Four, gives New Zealand 171 overs to try and bowl England out, a fantastic chance to level the series at 1-1.Reuse content