New Zealand hang on for a draw

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The second test between New Zealand and England in Wellington meandered to a draw today after the home side made no attempt to chase its 356-run target.

New Zealand finished on 158 for four when the match was abandoned with four overs remaining.

Stubborn batting resistance by Lou Vincent (71) and skipper Stephen Fleming, 11 runs in 150 minutes, in a third-wicket stand checked England's push for a 2-0 series win.

Fleming played the seventh slowest individual innings in tests and took 96 minutes and 88 balls to reach double figures as he shielded the side's brittle middle-order on a pitch producing inconsistent bounce.

Matthew Hoggard, 2-31, reverse swinging the ball rekindled England's victory hopes by removing Vincent and Fleming in the space of 12 balls as New Zealand slumped to 131 for four.

But Nathan Astle, 11 not out and Craig McMillan, 17 not out, ensured New Zealand have a chance to square the three-match series in the final test that starts on Saturday in Auckland.

Nasser Hussain gave his bowlers a minimum of 88 overs to bowl the home side out after a whirlwind 44-ball 75 runs by Andrew Flintoff enabled the skipper to declare before lunch on 293 for four.

England's hopes of sealing the series wasn't helped by a dropped catch by wicketkeeper James Foster and an error by local umpire Steve Dunne.

Fleming on one survived the catch while Vincent on four was given a reprieve by Dunne, who turned down a catch at silly point soon after the lunch break.

Flintoff's 33-ball half century was the second fastest test 50 by an English batsman, behind Ian Botham's 32-ball innings against New Zealand at The Oval in 1986. The allrounder smashed two sixes and nine fours before falling to leftarm spinner Daniel Vettori, who took 3-91.

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