Wellington: Matt Prior and Kevin Pietersen made half centuries and Stuart Broad captured two wickets with consecutive balls as England held off a New Zealand rally to stay in command of the second cricket test on Friday following an eventful second day.
Prior (82) and Pietersen (73) lifted England to 465 in its first innings after it briefly had been challenged by a determined New Zealand bowling performance.
Broad then removed Hamish Rutherford (23) and Ross Taylor with successive deliveries in the late afternoon to leave New Zealand staggering at 66-3 at stumps in reply.
Rutherford was caught at slip by Alastair Cook, who had previously caught Peter Fulton for 1 when New Zealand was six. Taylor then walked past the first ball he faced from Broad and was bowled, leaving Kane Williamson, 32 not out, and Dean Brownlie to guide New Zealand to stumps.
New Zealand fought hard to get back into the match Friday after winning the toss and erroneously choosing to bowl first, a misjudgement highlighed when England reached 267-2 by the end of the first day.
After taking three wickets in the first session and two early in the second, New Zealand looked to be winning back some ground. The rally was short-lived, though, as Pietersen, Prior and Steve Finn (24) quickly re-established England's advantage.
Left-arm paceman Trent Boult dismissed Jonathan Trott in the second over of the day before Trott could add to his overnight score of 121, starting the New Zealand attack.
The 32-year-old Bruce Martin, who dismissed Nick Compton (100) before stumps on Thursday, then captured the wickets of Pietersen, Ian Bell (11) and Joe Root (10), giving him his second four-wicket bag in only his second test.
When Boult removed Stuart Broad (6) early in the second session, England was 374-7, and New Zealand, in taking five wickets for 107 runs, had taken a foothold in the match.
Pietersen tried to steady England, taking his overnight score from 18 to 73 before finally falling to Martin after a long and gripping duel.
Prior then took charge of the England innings, improving from 15 not out at lunch to 50 from 100 balls, his 25th half century in tests.
Finn also helped England re-establish its dominant position, scoring 82 runs in an eighth-wicket partnership lasting 82 minutes with Prior. Finn, unheralded as batsman, was coming off a strong performance in the first test in which he batted for nearly six hours to steer the match to a draw.
Finn, Prior and Monty Panesar were all dismissed in the last 10 minutes before tea — Prior and Panesar in the same over bowled by part-time spinner Kane Williamson. But by that point, they had helped England reach 465 from 146.5 overs.
In England's last two innings, the New Zealand bowlers have bowled 316.5 overs and spent almost 10 sessions in the field, claiming 16 wickets at a cost of 885 runs.
The New Zealand bowlers had only three days to nurse weary bodies after England made 420-6 in its second innings in the first test on Sunday to force the draw. In the interim, New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum had declared his intention to bowl first if he won the toss, leaving the bowlers facing the prospect of another heavy workload to start the second test.
They battled through 90 overs on the first day on a pitch that offered almost nothing to the seamers or slower bowlers. But Martin caused a couple of balls to bite and turn out of footmarks late on the first day, returning to the Basin Reserve Friday with some optimism.
Though conditions were difficult, the New Zealand bowling effort never flagged. The hosts didn't leak runs on the first day, though they gained only two England wickets, and they bowled to good effect in more favorable conditions on the second day.