England’s Stuart Broad blitzed New Zealand’s top order in a dazzling spell under the Bay Oval lights to leave the hosts reeling on 63 for five after the third day of the first Test on Saturday, 331 runs shy of their unlikely victory target.
England had earlier ridden half centuries from Joe Root, Harry Brook and Ben Foakes to reach 374 all out in their second innings and set the Black Caps a mammoth 394 to win.
Seamer Broad (4-21) drove home the advantage in stunning fashion by bowling Devon Conway, Kane Williamson and Tom Latham through the gate in short order before returning to remove first innings centurion Tom Blundell for 15 in the same style.
Ollie Robinson chipped in with the wicket of Henry Nicholls for seven and Daryl Mitchell (13 not out) and Michael Bracewell (25 not out) will resume on Sunday with two days of the match stretching out in front of them.
The tourists had started the day on 79-2 but were soon unleashing another onslaught of “Bazball” cricket on their hosts under sunny skies in Tauranga.
Quick Neil Wagner (2-110) came in for particular punishment in the opening session as first Ollie Pope (49) and then Brook (54) flayed his bowling with a flurry of sixes and fours and England added 158 runs to their overnight tally.
Root looked less comfortable with the attacking style but worked his way neatly to 57 before an ill-judged attempt at a reverse sweep resulted in a top edge which was caught in the slips off the wicketkeeper’s gloves.
That brought up the first break and on the resumption Foakes and his skipper Ben Stokes, perhaps fearing England were getting too far ahead of the game, slowed the pace of the attack.
Stokes’s natural inclinations could not be contained for long and he unloaded a series of boundaries before offspinner Bracewell foxed him with a dipping delivery to leave Blundell with the simplest of stumpings.
The England skipper’s 31 included his 108th six to take him past his coach Brendon “Baz” McCullum as the most prolific scorer of the maximum in Test cricket history.
Wagner could have dismissed him on the next delivery but his miserable day continued when he caught the England skipper on the boundary only to fall over the rope and give Stokes his 109th Test six.
Woakes, promoted above Stokes in the batting order, stuck to his task and made 51 off 80 balls before he was caught behind off debutant Blair Tickner (3-55).
Robinson provided some starch in the England tail with 39 and Jack Leach (12) was the last wicket to fall with a slog and a miss to give Bracewell (3-68) his second wicket by stumping on the day.
England would perhaps have hoped for a couple of wickets in the final session but Broad had other ideas and his magical spell put them within touching distance of a 10th win in 11 Tests under former New Zealand skipper McCullum.