WELLINGTON (Reuters) - Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor and persistent light rain on Sunday ensured that New Zealand's second test against England at the Basin Reserve is most likely to end in a damp draw on Monday.
The hosts were on 162 for two after the rain had disrupted much of the fourth day's play with 39 overs lost after lunch and 16 overs at the end of day due to more rain after play had resumed at 1710 local (0410 GMT).
Williamson (55) and Taylor (41) had combined for an unbroken 81-run partnership in New Zealand's second innings after being forced to follow on, though they were still 49 runs from making England bat again, before they were forced off again at 1730 and despite attempts to restart, play was abandoned at 1755.
"There was still a lot of time left in the game when we arrived here this morning, but in terms of making sure we don't lose the game it (the rain) has helped," New Zealand batsmen Peter Fulton told reporters.
"There was a slight chance we could have batted well today and piled on some runs and put some pressure on England later tomorrow."
New Zealand's MetService has forecast a southerly change and persistent rain for the Wellington region throughout Monday and a draw is now the most likely result.
"We just have to turn up tomorrow and wait and see how the day turns out. If the weather is good we still have a lot of work to do."
England's only breakthrough came in the first session when Fulton prodded at a full-length James Anderson delivery and the ball flew to Alastair Cook at first slip.
Fulton's dismissal for 45 left New Zealand 81-2 and with Monty Panesar extracting turn from the pitch, the hosts were nervously facing the prospect of losing the match.
Taylor, who was on a king pair, negotiated his first delivery and got off the mark when Kevin Pietersen misfielded at mid-on, gradually growing in confidence as he fought off urges to attack Panesar, who was giving the ball more air.
Their partnership became well established as they inched closer to lunch and Williamson brought up his sixth test half century with his seventh boundary when he pulled a short Joe Root delivery to midwicket shortly before the break.
Light rain then began falling at lunch and ground staff placed covers over the wicket block at the start of the break, but intermittent, persistent showers throughout the afternoon meant only a further six overs were able to be bowled.
New Zealand added nine runs before they were forced off again for the final time, with Fulton praising his young colleagues.
"Ross and Kane put in a solid effort there in what play we did have to leave us reasonably confident we can negotiate tomorrow," Fulton said.
"But it's a funny old game and we have to turn up with the right attitude."