Rain Ruins Close Contest At Edgbaston

Rain ended play with the second One Day International between England and New Zealand tantalisingly poised with the tourists on 127 for two after 19 overs chasing 160 to win in 23 overs. England had been bowled out for 162 from their 24 overs. Luke Wright hit a dashing half-century before New Zealand hit back with Grant Elliot taking three for 23 and Tim Southee two wickets in two balls in the final over, which saw three wickets in total. After a lengthy delay due to rain, New Zealand won the toss and chose to bowl first and were looking good once they dismissed Ian Bell (nought) and Kevin Pietersen (13). Bell and Pietersen were both caught by Daniel Vettori at mid-off, Bell off a leading edge trying to work Kyle Mills on the legside, Pietersen off a drive that he didn't get hold off, Mason the bowler. There were no switch-hits today, just one crisply driven four through extra cover as Wright stole the early show with his own brand of clean hitting. Wright found the going tough early on, launched into Michael Mason, hitting him for four over cover then two huge sixes, one down the ground and over midwicket to take England on to 63 for two after ten overs. Another driven four brought up his second ODI half-century, and his first since the promotion to the top of the order. With rain returning, Wright was caught at long on by Scott Styris off of Grant Elliot, the Sussex man on his way having blasted 52 from 38 balls and immediately the players left the field. Five overs of England's innings were lost in another lengthy delay and no sooner had play resumed, the farcical run out of Ravi Bopara left England on the back foot. Both he and Paul Collingwood ended up charging to the same end, neither beating Ross Taylor's throw. Collingwood and Owais Shah then used Twenty20 style innovation to add 46 in just over five overs, Shah dismissing Scott Styris for six over midwicket and Collingwood launching Vettori into the direction of the pavilion before Shah was caught out by an Elliot slower ball, and was trapped in front for 18. Collingwood soon followed him back, his 24-ball innings of 37 ended by a fine catch by Daniel Flynn with the impressive Elliot picking up his third wicket. Wickets went down at a great rate in the last five overs, Tim Ambrose working Kyle Mills to Ross Taylor at midwicket for one before Southee found himself on a hat-trick by dismissing Dimitri Mascarenhas (23) and Graeme Swann (one). Both were caught by wicket-keeper Gareth Hopkins off top edges. Stuart Broad survived the hat-trick ball but was run out from the final ball of the innings as Elliot returned the fourth best innings by a New Zealand debutant of three for 23, Mills taking two for 24 and Southee taking two for 35. New Zealand got their reply off to a fast start, Brendon McCullum and Jamie How adding 25 in quick time before How was caught by Owais Shah off of Stuart Broad for 16 and when Ross Taylor (25) was caught by Wright off of Collingwood, things were still evenly poised as McCullum was smashing the ball to all parts at the other end. With 20 overs for each side constituting a match, McCullum was unbeaten on 60 from 51 balls and Scott Styris 19 from 24 when rain came down, forcing the players off the field at the end of the 19th over. New Zealand would have needed 134 from 20 to win, with their players disappointed that the match couldn't have been finished, particularly as there was a 30 minute break between innings and they felt England had been time-wasting. Those allegations were denied by captain Collingwood and the match officials are not set to take any action against the home side. England still lead the five-match series 1-0 after a 114-run win at Chester-le-Street, following up a nine-wicket win in the Twenty20 International at Old Trafford and the third match is at Bristol on June 21st. New Zealand handed a One Day International debut to all-rounder Elliot with batsman James Marshall missing out while England replaced Ryan Sidebottom, ruled out with a back injury, with Mascarenhas. John Pennington © Cricket World 2008