New Zealand started Day 2 at a healthy position on 173 for three but England did well to bowl them out for a total below 400. All-rounder Daryl Mitchell made a composed half-century on debut for the Kiwis even as they lost their final five wickets for just sixty runs.
The hosts grabbed the advantage in the final session of the day, with the new ball bowlers picking up the wickets of top-order batsmen Dominic Sibley and Joe Denly.
Skipper Joe Root and opener Rory Burns were the unbeaten batsmen at the crease when stumps was called.
Mitchell shines on debut
Only 54 overs were possible on Day 1 and early strikes from Stuart Broad and Sam Curran at the start of the second morning had the hosts wobbling. Broad removed centurion Tom Latham in the second over of the day as the southpaw offered no shot to a delivery that just shaped back in enough to disturb the off bail.
Curran had Henry Nicholls caught at deep square leg a short while later with a well directed bouncer, and New Zealand were suddenly down to 191 for five.
Once again New Zealand’s gritty lower order proved difficult to dislodge as BJ Watling and debutant Daryl Mitchell launched a fightback. The duo were exceedingly patient and added 124 runs in their 51-over association for the sixth wicket.
Broad dismissed both batsmen at either side of the Tea break with some excellent short-pitched bowling. While Watling fended a rising delivery to the fielder at gully, the more courageous Mitchell, took on the short-ball on and holed out to deep squareleg.
Brief but entertaining cameos from Mitch Santner and Tim Southee nudged the scoring rate and the total just a bit before the hosts were bowled out for 375.
Stuart Broad was England’s best bowler as he finished with figures of four for 73.
England lose two to the new ball
Tim Southee and Matt Henry bowled probing lines with the new ball and troubled the batsmen under fading light. Southee rattled rookie opener Dominic Sibley with a short ball that struck him right on the helmet. He then trapped the opener LBW with an inswinger that Sibley played all around.
Matt Henry, roped in to replace Trent Boult, struck a couple of overs later as Joe Denly hung his bat out to a good length delivery only to nick it through to the wicket keeper, Watling.
After his double century in the previous game and a fighting fifty at Hamilton, Watling’s stock has skyrocketed. Only Adam Gilchrist now has more dismissals and a higher batting average than him among Test wicket-keepers.
Skipper Joe Root and Rory Burns stuck around and survived the remaining nine overs for England to finish at 39 for two from 18 overs.
Burns had a couple of reprieves in that testing period of play. The opener was initially dropped at first slip by Ross Taylor and was later put down by a diving Jeet Raval at mid-wicket.
England spinner Jack Leach was admitted in the hospital after he felt unwell in the first session. He has been diagnosed with gastroenteritis and is expected to stay in the hospital overnight.
England – 39/2 (Burns 24*, Root 6*)
New Zealand – 375 (Latham 105, Mitchell 73, Watling 55, Broad 4-73)
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