England hold advantage after enthralling day
New Zealand and England served up a fitting day’s play at the Basin Reserve on Test cricket’s 136th anniversary.
Many felt the second act in Wellington would provide another opportunity for England, who resumed in a dominant position at 267 for two, to pile on the runs.
Yet appropriately, given it was 136 years to the day since Australia and England did battle in the first Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, a thrilling contest that perfectly encapsulates why this remains the pinnacle format ensued.
Trent Boult dismissing overnight centurion Jonathan Trott for 121 in the second over heralded a fine day’s play - albeit one in which England eventually strengthened their position.
Led by left-arm spinner Bruce Martin, whose use of flight was particularly impressive, the Black Caps dismissed the tourists for a total of 465, which owed much to 73 and 82 respectively from Kevin Pietersen and Matt Prior.
That score, the minimum expected at the start of play, looked extremely daunting as England’s bowlers came out firing in the reply.
Indeed, Stuart Broad followed up James Anderson’s early breakthrough by claiming two wickets in as many balls towards the close; the Kiwis eventually ended on 66 for three, with Kane Williamson unbeaten on 32 not out.
Boult ensured a thrilling start in the morning, luring an edge from Trott - whose effort yesterday was chanceless - that BJ Watling snaffled behind the stumps.
Martin’s control was then rewarded as Ian Bell skied to cover, attempting to hit down the ground, and Joe Root edged behind, playing an expansive drive.
Pietersen was having no such problems as an effortless straight six was followed by an array of well-timed cuts whenever the tweaker dropped marginally short.
However, having battled so hard in compiling an untypically reserved half-century, a lack of concentration cost England’s number four after lunch.
He fatally tried to hit over the top without getting to the pitch of the ball, subsequently giving Peter Fulton an easy catch at deep mid-off, where he was strategically placed as Brendon McCullum aimed to lure such a stroke.
Prior responded with some typically eye-catching shots through the off side, but could only watch as Broad was caught behind off Boult.
Steven Finn further enhanced his growing reputation with the bat, though, mixing solid defence with classy strokeplay all round the wicket en route to 24.
His part in an 83-run stand was most important as Prior was given time to prosper - something he did with two lusty straight maximums off Neil Wagner.
A deserved century did not come as he reverse-swept Williamson to short third man, a dismissal that was followed up by Monty Panesar edging to slip.
Seemingly inspired by their hosts’ fight, England were aggressive with the ball as Anderson quickly saw off Fulton, who edged to Alastair Cook at first slip attempting a flat-footed push.
Hamish Rutherford briefly rebuilt alongside Williamson, only to depart in identical fashion to his opening partner, his error in judgement all the more frustrating given he had repelled England for 94 minutes.
While Broad was largely gifted that wicket, there was little doubt he earned the next as Ross Taylor was cleaned up by one that nipped away and uprooted off stump.
Williamson battled to see New Zealand to the close, but will no doubt know plenty of hard work lies ahead tomorrow.
Live Text Commentary
4:49am - STUMPS - NEW ZEALAND 66/3; Williamson 32, Brownlie 8 - Brownlie and Williamson see out the last couple of overs, but will know there is plenty of work ahead tomorrow. Join me then for further updates!
4:40am - Despite those two wickets falling, Williamson has continued to look assured, illustrated by a pulled boundary off Panesar.
4:26am - Finn and Anderson are following up Broad's good work now as England hunt further breakthroughs prior to the close.
4:11am - Dean Brownlie prevents a hat-trick by tucking Broad off his pads for two to midwicket.
4:08am - WICKET! Taylor b Broad 0; NZ 48/3 - And another one! Two in two for Broad, who bowls Ross Taylor with a beauty that moves away and uproots off stump. Can he grab a second Test hat-trick?!
4:04am - WICKET! Rutherford c Cook b Broad 23; NZ 48/2 - Lovely shot from Williamson, who capitalises on Panesar being a little short by punching through cover-point for four. However, he loses his partner in the next over as Rutherford falls in similar fashion to Fulton earlier, edging to Cook at first slip following a poor shot.
3:57am - Williamson picks up four by punching Panesar down the ground.
3:50am - Broad is now getting sucked into bowling too short; his best moments have come when pitching the ball up.
3:36am - There is not too much turn in evidence for Monty Panesar as of yet, though he is forcing the odd false stroke. Broad, meanwhile, has just appealed vociferously after hitting Williamson's pad, but there was an inside edge.
3:30am - Broad is looking good here, almost getting a wicket when Rutherford edges through the cordon for four.
3:17am - England are getting a little carried away here, bowling just a tad too short. A wicket almost comes when Anderson pitches it up and Kane Williamson inside-edges narrowly past his stumps for four. Stuart Broad is coming into the attack.
2:58am - WICKET! Fulton c Cook b Anderson 1; NZ 6/1 - Well, it's been coming. Fulton attempts a flat-footed push outside off stump and edges to Alastair Cook at first slip.
2:46am - Anderson and Finn are causing the Black Caps openers all sorts of problems here. Rutherford and Fulton are fighting to stay at the crease, though, which is making for compelling viewing.
2:37am - Steven Finn follows that up with a hostile set of six; after softening Hamish Rutherford up with some chin music, he lures a drive and beats the edge.
2:32am - James Anderson sends down a cracking first over with a hint of movement on offer, beating Peter Fulton's edge with his third delivery.
2:10am - END OF INNINGS - ENGLAND 465 ALL OUT - The innings comes to an end later in the over as Monty Panesar edges Williamson to slip. A total of 465 is not as many as England would have hoped at the start of the day, but New Zealand's bowlers have gained enough assistance to offer encouragement today. It's tea time, too, by the way.
2:08am - WICKET! Prior c Wagner b Williamson 82; Eng 265/9 - What a shame! Prior misses out on a century as Wagner takes a sensational catch above his head following a reverse-sweep off Kane Williamson.
2:05am - James Anderson has picked up where Finn left off, driving and upper-cutting Wagner for boundaries. Let the fun continue!
2:02am - WICKET! Finn c McCullum b Wagner 24; Eng 457/8 - It appears he is wanted back at Hogwarts! Finn gets a little carried away and drives Wagner straight to cover. Still a good knock, that.
1:52am - You cannot bowl there, Neil! Wagner sends down another length ball and Prior dismissively crashes over long-on for six. And as if things were not bad enough, 'The Watford Wizard' - do you prefer that? - then slog-sweeps Martin and drives to the fence in the same over.
1:44am - Well, well, well. Prior is really moving through the gears now and giving the crowd a treat, albeit one the home supporters may not be enjoying. Following a pull and hook for four, he launches Neil Wagner down the ground for six. Sensational.
1:39am - Prior really does make scoring look simple when he’s in form; after reaching his half-century, the wicketkeeper-batsman crunches through cover before sweeping Martin for another boundary two overs later. And that’s the fifty partnership too!
1:28am - FIFTY! Prior (77b 7x4 0x6) - Well, what a shot this is! Martin bowls a little too full and Finn slog-sweeps powerfully for four. Prior then moves on to a richly-deserved fifty on the back of a drive to point that earns two. As is often the case, he produces when England require it.
1:14am - REVIEW! - Excellent stuff from Prior, who crunches four with a cut before showing class in guiding another through third man. In the next over, he is hit on the pad when sweeping by Martin and umpire Asad Rauf raises the finger. Prior immediately calls for a review, replays show an under-edge and he remains! Easy as that.
12:59am - We may have to re-think Finn's nickname after that shot; he rocks back to Martin and cuts authoritatively to the boundary. Good work.
12:51am - Those breakthroughs have seemingly had minimal impact on Prior, who swipes Boult effortlessly through midwicket.
12:38am - WICKET! Broad c Watling b Boult 6; Eng 374/7 - Well, Stuart Broad did not last long, nicking Boult behind having inside-edged Martin just past BJ Watling and driven four in the previous over. In comes 'The Watford Wall' Steven Finn; England could certainly do with someone keeping Prior company.
12:32am - WICKET! Pietersen c Fulton b Martin 73; Eng 366/6 - Profiting from added pace on the ball, Prior looks more at ease versus Boult and unleashes two vicious cuts to the boundary. However, he loses his partner in the next over as Pietersen skies an attempt to hit Martin over the top, Peter Fulton claiming an easy catch. That was excellent captaincy from McCullum, who invited England's number four to play that shot by having a man halfway back to the long-off boundary.
12:25am - Kevin Pietersen finds his first boundary since the break when flicking Trent Boult through fine-leg, while Martin continues to keep things tight against Prior.
12:16am - Bruce Martin gets the afternoon session under way with a maiden to Matt Prior.
11:30pm - LUNCH - ENGLAND 353/5; Pietersen 68, Prior 15 - Pietersen gives indications of his good touch with two further cut fours off Martin before Prior twice drives fluently to the fence off Wagner. England will be hoping for more of the same after lunch, which has just been taken.
11:15pm - It's worth noting that there is a little turn on offer, as Matt Prior finds out when edging an attempted cut for two.
11:07pm - WICKET! Root c Watling b Martin 10; Eng 325/5 - I was just about to say that Joe Root is looking confident given he had followed up three off Martin by steering Southee impressively through third man for four. However, the youngster falls in the next over, edging Martin behind when playing an ill-advised drive.
10:58pm - FIFTY! Pietersen (112b 4x4 1x6) - Pietersen responds to Bell’s departure in fine style, sweeping Martin powerfully for four before cutting through cover a couple of overs later to herald a determined half-century. I cannot help but think the number four will move through the gears now; he’s certainly looking in good nick.
10:42pm - WICKET! Bell c Fulton b Martin 11; Eng 302/4 - There's plenty happening at Wellington. After BJ Watling drops Pietersen, who top-edged a hook off the luckless Southee, New Zealand get a breakthrough. Bell tries to hit Martin over the top down the ground, but completely mis-times it, Peter Fulton taking a fine, tumbling catch at cover.
10:30pm - Pietersen, by the way, has now become the third England player to reach 13,000 international runs, following in the footsteps of Graham Gooch and Alec Stewart. On the field, Bell is beaten by a beauty and then edges just short of the slips as the impressive Southee causes problems.
10:24pm - That’s more like it from Pietersen! He has looked a little circumspect thus far, but shows real intent when advancing to thump left-arm spinner Bruce Martin down the ground for six.
10:16pm - Bell shows signs of aggression, crashing Wagner through cover-point for four despite the delivery being on a good length. He really got hold of that.
10:08pm - This is good work from Boult, Neil Wagner and Tim Southee, who are ensuring scoring is difficult with some tight bowling.
9:58pm - That is glorious from Bell, who profits from Boult over-pitching by unfurling a glorious cover-driven four. Lovely stuff.
9:44pm - After Ian Bell gets off the mark with a single, Pietersen delivers the day's first boundary with a trademark whip through midwicket.
9:37pm - WICKET! Trott c Watling b Boult 121; Eng 267/3 - And there's the huge early wicket New Zealand needed! Trent Boult sends one across Jonathan Trott, who edges behind attempting a defensive stroke.
9:34pm - Tim Southee delivers the day's opening over yet fails to trouble Kevin Pietersen.
9:27pm - Indeed, the Black Caps toiled for 170 overs during the last couple of days in the opening encounter and, given the Tests are back to back, fatigue could be a factor.
9:18pm - New Zealand, meanwhile, are desperately on the hunt for early wickets, especially given they have taken five successive new balls in this series following England’s outstanding rearguard in Dunedin.
9:11pm - Trott will resume alongside Kevin Pietersen, who is 18 not out, and doubtless has his sights set on a big, big hundred.
9:06pm - That the tourists moved into such a dominant position was thanks in no small part to the efforts of Nick Compton and Jonathan Trott, who struck 100 and an unbeaten 121 respectively at the Basin Reserve.
9pm - Hello and welcome to ecb.co.uk’s live coverage of the second Test between New Zealand and England in Wellington. The tourists head into day two aiming for a substantial first-innings total having reached 267 for two yesterday.