A Lord's test match that keeps on giving is poised for a thrilling finish, after New Zealand paceman Tim Southee hauled his side up from the brink on day three.
Southee ripped through England's middle-order with a spell of three for four off 17 balls to reduce the hosts to 180-6 in their second innings at stumps.
It left England with a lead of 205 with two days to play, and New Zealand remarkably still in with a sniff of their first victory at Lord's in 14 years.
They won't want to chase much more than 250, though, with speedster James Anderson and the spin of Graeme Swann sure to pose a big threat on a wearing pitch.
After taking a clear points decision from the first two days, New Zealand received a mid-afternoon standing eight count and looked gone. They'd lost six wickets for 52 in the morning session to trail by 25 on the first innings. Then BJ Watling and Bruce Martin departed the field with injuries as England cruised to 159-2 in their second innings.
Watling limped off early in the final session with a heavily bruised left knee, suffered during a botched run out, and passed the gloves to skipper Brendon McCullum. And Martin departed gingerly late in the day after a poor spell.
New Zealand's pacemen again started strongly with their team trailing.
Trent Boult has England captain Alastair Cook's number as he removed him for the fourth time in six innings. Cook appeared gone second ball but was saved by an inconclusive Hot Spot replay, then Boult got another to swing and Dean Brownlie held his second brilliant slips catch of the test.
When Neil Wagner had Nick Compton sitting on his heels and cartwheeled his off-stump with an inswinger, England were 36-2, with a flu-stricken Ian Bell back at the team hotel.
The sun emerged, the ball stopped swinging and the pitch became friendlier. And New Zealand's fielding also became ragged as Joe Root and Jonathan Trott added 123.
The Yorkshireman and the South African were intent on running each other out, but New Zealand couldn't accept their charity. McCullum swooped at cover and his wide throw had Watling stretching then diving spectacularly, but he narrowly missed the bails with Root short of his ground, and his left knee thudded into the pitch.
Watling was assisted off as McCullum rushed to gather his wicketkeeping gear. He ditched the pads after one over. Then substitute fielder Martin Guptill also threw wide with Root short of his ground.
Martin struggled in a wicketless 13-over spell and the batsmen cashed in. One turned violently past Trott but McCullum couldn't grab it and complete the stumping.
So it fell to the senior paceman to haul up a flagging New Zealand effort in the nick of time.
Southee bowled full and straight and shattered the stumps of Root (71) and Jonny Bairstow (5). Then he set up Matt Prior (0) with a long hop which he guided to square leg. England's hero of the Auckland draw had an awful three days here with a pair and a dropped catch of Kane Williamson.
Then Williamson, bowling into the footmarks, got one to turn and remove Trott for 56, sparking jubilant scenes in the evening gloom. England had lost 4-12 in 6.2 overs.
New Zealand began the day with their noses in front, just 79 behind with six wickets in hand and McCullum ready to launch. It was a hammer blow when he drove loosely at the fourth ball, from Stuart Broad, and touched an edge. A half-hearted decision review system challenge didn't save him.
Broad and Anderson had fire in their bellies, bowling full with swing, a vast improvement on the short-wide offerings from the previous day. Williamson and Watling had a torrid time. Williamson batted 280 minutes for 60 before Anderson, the king of Lord's, nicked him down then leg side.
The slide was on and Steven Finn (4-63) mopped up the tail. Southee blasted three successive boundaries then swung loosely, then Martin was skittled by Anderson, new member of test cricket's 300 club, claimed his 13th bag of five wickets.
Scoreboard at stumps on the third day of the first Test between England and New Zealand:
First innings 232
First innings (overnight 153-4)
Peter Fulton c Swann b Anderson 2
Hamish Rutherford c Cook b Anderson 4
Kane Williamson c Prior b Anderson 60
Ross Taylor lbw Anderson 66
Dean Brownlie lbw Finn 23
Brendon McCullum c Prior b Broad 2
BJ Watling c Prior b Finn 17
Tim Southee c Root b Finn 12
Bruce Martin b Anderson 0
Neil Wagner not out 6
Trent Boult c Anderson b Finn 0
Extras (4b 8lb 3nb) 15
Fall: 5 (Rutherford), 7 (Fulton), 100 (Taylor), 147 (Brownlie), 155 (McCullum), 177 (Williamson), 194 (Southee), 195 (Martin), 207 (Watling), 207 (Boult).
Bowling: J Anderson 24-11-47-5, S Broad 21-4-64-1 (2nb), S Finn 15-3-63-4 (1nb), G Swann 8-0-19-0, J Trott 1-0-2-0.
Alastair Cook c Brownlie b Boult 21
Nick Compton b Wagner 15
Jonathan Trott not out 25
Joe Root not out 28
Jonny Bairstow b Southee 5
Matt Prior c sub (Guptill) b Southee 0
Steven Finn not out 6
Ian Bell not out 0
Extras (1w, 2nb, 3b) 6
TOTAL (for 6 wickets) 180
Fall of wickets: 1-36, 2-36, 3-159, 4-167, 5-171, 6-171
Bowling: Trent Boult 12-3-42-1, Tim Southee 14-2-34-3, Neil Wagner 13-2-44-1 (1nb), Bruce Martin 13-2-40-0 (1nb), Kane Williamson 7-1-17-1.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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