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Wellington - England’s Nick Compton and Jonathan Trott negated any slim advantage New Zealand may have hoped to get from the Basin Reserve pitch to guide the visitors to 75 for one at lunch on the first day of the second Test on Thursday.
Compton was on 34 while Trott was on 23 at the break.
New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum had won the toss and chose to bowl at a sun-drenched Basin Reserve to extract whatever assistance they could get from the pitch expected to offer more pace and bounce than University Oval in Dunedin.
England captain Alastair Cook (17) was the only wicket to fall when he appeared to get through his shot a little ahead of the delivery from left arm pace bowler Neil Wagner and it spooned to Peter Fulton at mid-on.
Cook had looked comfortable at the crease before his dismissal and shook his head as he despondently walked off.
Apart from the early breakthrough, New Zealand's bowlers squandered the best of the bowling conditions with the new ball, failing to force the England batsmen to play at deliveries while Trent Boult in particular bowled both sides of the wicket.
Compton, who scored his maiden test century in the second innings in the drawn first test at University Oval in Dunedin, demonstrated his new found confidence with two sumptuous shots off Wagner immediately after Cook was dismissed.
The first was pulled just behind square to the leg side boundary and he then smashed a drive to the extra cover boundary two balls later.
Both sides were unchanged from the drawn first test, with McCullum expressing such confidence in his side after their performance in Dunedin he told reporters on Wednesday the team would be the same.
England batsman Kevin Pietersen had been under an injury cloud before the match with a knee issue that had forced him from the field several times in Dunedin, but Cook said at the toss he had recovered enough to take his place in the lineup.
The third and final match of the series is at Eden Park in Auckland from March 22-26. - Reuters