Rain stops play at Headingley

New Zealand will be hoping traditional English weather can save them from defeat.

Cricket ball. Picture: Sxc.hu.

LEEDS - Graeme Swann took his fifth wicket but rain held up England's push for victory on the last day of the second and final test against New Zealand at Headingley.

Just 48 minutes of play were possible in the morning session in which New Zealand, set an improbable 468 for victory, progressed to 219 for eight before the showers returned to force an early lunch.

New Zealand, who resumed on 158 for six after early downpours delayed the start by 45 minutes, quickly lost captain Brendon McCullum for one.

McCullum skewed a low full toss from Stuart Broad back to the bowler who took a sharp low catch.

Tim Southee, dropped on 24 when Jonathan Trott failed to grasp a sharp one-handed chance at first slip off Swann, fell to the same combination in the spinner's next over.

Southee clubbed two sixes and four boundaries in his entertaining cameo and shared a stand of 56 runs in 6.5 overs with Doug Bracewell (19 not out).

England won the first test by 170 runs at Lord's.