Alastair Cook became England's all-time leading test run scorer and Adam Lyth registered his first century as the hosts closed day two of the second test against New Zealand trailing by 97.
Needing just 32 runs to eclipse Graham Gooch's long-standing record of 8,900, the much-maligned captain made 75 at Headingley and home favourite Lyth added 107 after England had rather toiled in their attempts to finish off the Black Caps' tailenders on another entertaining day of high-class cricket.
With New Zealand having scored 297 from just 65 overs on a rain-affected first day, the duo of Mark Craig and Matt Henry continued to score at a quick pace from the off. The latter smashed two boundaries - including a huge six - off Stuart Broad before he was finally gone for 27 after snatching at a short ball and producing a thick edge that carried through to Jos Buttler.
The tourists added another 40 after but were finally all out when Trent Boult was caught by Lyth. A five-fer for Broad, but not one he will be eager to celebrate too enthusiastically given that it came at the expense of 109 runs.
Chasing 350 in reply, England's openers negotiated a hostile attack very well indeed and reached lunch without loss. A typically patient Cook hit Tim Southee for four to bring up his latest milestone and he was deservedly applauded by all in attendance.
Having reached tea at 153-0, the skipper was later trapped lbw by Craig. It was initially ruled as not out by the umpire, but the subsequent review proved successful and New Zealand finally made a breakthrough having allowed a first-wicket stand of 177.
Lyth was granted the biggest cheer of the day as he secured his ton in front of an enthusiastic home crowd on what is only his second test appearance, but an otherwise excellent day for the 27-year-old ended on somewhat of a sour note as he was run out by Boult following a costly misunderstanding with Yorkshire teammate Gary Ballance.
The latter did not last too much longer and fell victim to the new ball as he was comprehensively bowled by Boult for 29. Joe Root faced just four deliveries and scored one solitary run before being caught behind by Luke Ronchi off Southee.
England reached 247 before Ben Stokes, hero of the thrilling first test victory at Lord's last week, became the next to walk during a very profitable evening spell for New Zealand when he was caught in the slips by Craig following a wicked delivery from Boult.
Ian Bell and Buttler then contributed a combined total of 18 to leave Cook's side, who will be coached by Australian Trevor Bayliss during the Ashes series later this summer, 253-5 at stumps and the match finely poised.