England claim honours on rollicking day
A triple strike by paceman Trent Boult revived New Zealand's hopes but they would be kicking themselves for letting England sneak away in the second test at Headingley.
In a rollicking day's cricket in the Leeds sun, England were 337-7 at stumps on day two after the first day was washed out. Local man Joe Root (104) was the star of the day with his maiden century in his sixth test to seize control after the hosts won the toss.
Boult, after a wicketless 15 overs, returned with the second new ball to dismiss Root and take 3-3 in 13 balls to give New Zealand hope of restricting England to under 400. The left-armer had 3-48 at the close.
England wicketkeeper Matt Prior was proving a pest, though, and was 38 not out after being dropped on 21 by Doug Bracewell, who also picked up a hamstring problem after a frustrating return to the test side.
Captain Brendon McCullum bagged five catches for the fourth time in his test career but it was a mixed day for the New Zealand skipper, replacing the injured BJ Watling in his first test as designated gloveman since March 2010.
After diving for some leg side offerings he appeared to aggravate his troublesome back and was barely able to crouch. Medical staff ran out some painkilling tablets before tea and a pained McCullum was said to be in a sorry state in the dressing room at the interval.
It was puzzling that New Zealand hadn't summoned gloveman Luke Ronchi, who arrived in England last Wednesday with the ODI specialists.
Decision review system (DRS) blunders also hurt New Zealand. One review down already, McCullum didn't go up for a caught behind off Ian Bell on 12 when Hot Spot replays revealed a bottom edge. Then with Root on 93, McCullum confidently challenged a leg side catch but replays showed pad only.
Both sides got their wish at the toss, after the 8degC chill on the washed out first day gave way to brilliant sunshine. McCullum said he would have bowled first anyway, as New Zealand played a four-pronged pace attack for the first time since last August. Their best chance of an unlikely win inside four days was to skittle England cheaply first up, already 1-0 down with one to play.
At 67-3 at lunch, New Zealand fancied their chances. Tim Southee was the pick of the quicks and compounded Nick Compton's nerves about his test spot with a classic outswinger that found the edge.
Southee bowled full and straight as the ball swung generously. Trent Boult was poor in the first session and lacked control, but improved after lunch. Neil Wagner and Bracewell combined for a double strike before the interval; a loose drive by Jonathan Trott and an edge by Cook to Dean Brownlie's safe hands.
But New Zealand let England off the hook as Root cashed in on some loose offerings. He looked all class, was rarely troubled and will surely replace Compton in his familiar opening spot for the Ashes.
Bell rode his luck with the DRS, survived several big appeals and finally nicked an innocuous one from Kane Williamson after adding 79 with Root.
The New Zealand wheels wobbled either side of tea as Bracewell (1-83 off 19) and Williamson (1-49 off nine) were expensive, the ball stopped swinging and England got away. How the tourists could have done with Daniel Vettori's control.
Williamson's sixth over went for 19 as Root was in complete command. Jonny Bairstow always looks vulnerable early on but he grew in confidence and punched down the ground with authority.
The packed Western Terraces erupted on dress-up Saturday as the Yorkshire connection shone. Conga lines of butchers and Where's Wallys danced around and Mexican waves went up as Wagner got a torrid time on the long leg boundary.
The second new ball was welcome salvation for a flagging New Zealand. As he did at Lord's, Boult improved as the day progressed and struck with his first delivery with new Duke.
Boult removed Root and Bairstow (64) in the space of 12 deliveries, each nicked out angling across. The pair added 124; Root's first test century coming up off 156 balls as he departed to a standing ovation.
Scoreboard at stumps on the second day of the second test between England and New Zealand at Headingley:
Alastair Cook c Brownlie b Bracwell 34
Nick Compton c Brownlie b Southee 1
Jonathan Trott c McCullum b Wagner 28
Ian Bell c McCullum by Williamson 30
Joe Root c McCullum b Boult 104
Jonny Bairstow c McCullum b Boult 64
Matt Prior not out 38
Stuart Broad c McCullum b Boult 0
Graeme Swann not out 21
Extras (5b, 7lb, 4w, 1nb) 11
TOTAL (for 7 wickets) 337
Fall of wickets: 1-11, 2-67, 3-67, 4-146
Bowling: Trent Boult 19-4-48-3(2w), Tim Southee 26-6-72-1, Neil Wagner 23-4-83-1 (1w), Doug Bracewell 19-3-83-1, Kane Williamson 9-0-49-1.