New Zealand have regained a measure of control over the second Test against England, after being forced to follow on. The hosts were 162/2 in their second innings, when rain forced an early close to the fourth day's play.
Peter Fulton and Kane Williamson started the day with the score at 77/1, only for James Anderson to strike early in the morning and dismiss Fulton (45). Ross Taylor joined Williamson at the crease and the pair held off the English bowlers with an 81-run third-wicket stand. At close of play, Taylor and Williamson were unbeaten on 41 and 55 respectively. Stuart Broad was unable to re-create the heroics of the first innings, when he took 6/51 to restrict New Zealand to 254 in pursuit of England's 465.
The Kiwis won the toss and asked England to bat first. It was a brave decision, considering the English openers - Alastair Cook and Nick Compton were involved in a mammoth 231-run opening stand in the first Test. The decision proved right though, with Neil Wagner dismissing Cook (17) early on. Unfortunately, Compton and Trott teamed up this time around, for another 200+ stand; 210 for the second wicket. And by the time Bruce Martin had Compton (100) dismissed, England were well in control.
Superb half-centuries from Kevin Pietersen (73) and Matt Prior (82) as well as a century from Jonathan Trott (121) allowed for a strong first innings total. For New Zealand, Martin, Trent Boult, Wagner and Williamson picked up the wickets.
The Kiwis could not match the batting of the English, in their first innings anyway. And it wasn't till captain Brendon McCullum (69) and Brian Watling (60) got together (with the score at 89/5) that the home side offered any real resistance. The pair put on 100 for the sixth wicket.
England will start the day with a lead of 49 runs and eight Kiwi wickets to get. For New Zealand, the equation is very simple - do not lose wickets. The top order has started well, with Fulton, Williamson and Taylor all recording decent scores. However, one of either Williamson or Taylor has to bat through the day, if the home side are to survive.