Spinner Bruce Martin struck twice as New Zealand claimed much-needed wickets early on day two of the second Test against England at Wellington’s Basin Reserve on Friday.
The tourists were 353 for five at lunch with Kevin Pietersen unbeaten on 68 and Matt Prior 15 not out after starting the day on an imposing 267 for two.
New Zealand’s bowlers, who toiled for little reward on an unresponsive first-day wicket, made the perfect start when Jonathan Trott departed without adding to his overnight score of 121.
Trott carelessly prodded at the first ball he faced, edging Trent Boult’s delivery to keeper BJ Watling.
Martin, bowling into the wind, then claimed the wickets of Ian Bell (11) and Joe Root (10), on a pitch that offered New Zealand more attacking opportunities in blustery, overcast conditions.
Pietersen, who failed twice in the drawn first Test in Dunedin, signalled his intent to guide England to a big first innings total with a towering six off spinner Martin.
He brought up his half century, the 30th of his Test career, off 112 balls with a four off Martin.
But the star batsman almost threw away his wicket, taking a wild swing at a Tim Southee bouncer, tipping the ball just above the outstretched hands of a leaping Watling.
Bell did not survive a similar moment of madness in the next over, charging down the wicket to Martin and smashing the ball skyward to Peter Fulton at cover.
Martin claimed his third scalp of the innings when he deceived Root with a fuller ball, coaxing an edge that was sharply taken by Watling behind the stumps.
Centuries from Trott and Nick Compton on day one laid a solid foundation for England after they lost the toss and were sent in to bat, but New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum will be encouraged by the early inroads on day two.
England, ranked second in Test cricket, are favourites in the three-Test series. New Zealand, ranked eighth, have not won a series against England since 1999, with their sole series victory on home soil back in 1984.
Brief Scores: England 353 for 5 (Jonathan Trott 121, Nick Compton 100; Bruce Martin 4 for 130) vs New Zealand