CHRISTCHURCH – England removed a stubborn Tom Latham to close in on victory in the second Test at Christchurch Tuesday, with New Zealand 191 for six at tea on the final day.
However, they are racing the elements with clouds building on the horizon.
Stuart Broad took two wickets with the first two balls of the day to start a flow of dismissals, leaving New Zealand to pin their hopes on a stubborn Latham.
But after propping up the innings for nearly five hours, the opener was removed midway through the afternoon session for 83.
Colin de Grandhomme, required for the second time in the Test to park his natural quick-fire tendencies and graft away, was not out 27 with Ish Sodhi on 16.
New Zealand's remaining four wickets include Tim Southee who has a viral complaint and is said to be feverish, and any thoughts of reaching their formidable 382-run target have long gone.
A win to England would not only square the series but, importantly for their morale, would end a run of 12 winless Tests away from home.
Latham fought a lonely battle to keep New Zealand in the Test with his biggest partnership being 44 for the fifth wicket with BJ Watling who made 19.
While Latham played a near textbook innings, apart from a nick on 23 that was grounded by James Vince in the cordon, most of the other batsmen authored their own downfall.
Broad's first ball strayed down the leg side and Jeet Raval, resuming at 17 with New Zealand 42 for none, steered it to Mark Stoneman at midwicket.
With his next ball, Broad gave Kane Williamson a sighter outside the off stump but the New Zealand skipper decided to have a crack and the ball was edged to Jonny Bairstow behind the stumps.
It was the first golden duck for the New Zealand's star batsman playing in his 65th Test.
Ross Taylor avoided the hat-trick ball, was dropped on six by Vince and progressed to 13 when he saw Jack Leach place Alastair Cook at short backward leg and then promptly chipped the ball straight to him.
Cook moved to first slip to catch Henry Nicholls for 13 off James Anderson, and Anderson then fielded at short backward square to catch Watling when he swept at a loose Mark Wood delivery.
After two dropped catches, Vince finally pouched one to send Latham on his way with a diving effort at square leg off Leach.
England is currently on 243/7 at the Hagley Oval.