New Zealand collapsed to 224-7 as England gave themselves a chance to chase a dramatic series victory by close of play on the fourth day of the second Test on Monday.
The Kiwis lost five wickets for 110 in a tense evening session at Trent Bridge and head into the final day with a lead of 238.
With three wickets left, New Zealand face a difficult period early on Tuesday as they try to bat their way to safety.
Daryl Mitchell is on 32 not out, with Matt Henry on 8, and if England can rattle through the tail, they will fancy themselves in a thrilling run chase.
England chased down 277 to win the first Test at Lord’s thanks to a Joe Root century.
A second successive victory over the Test world champions would give England their first series triumph since January 2021.
“It is pretty finely balanced. It has left everyone in with a chance. We’ll be looking to take early wickets and see where we can go,” England’s Ben Foakes said.
“You don’t know what is going to happen with the wicket. You would think anything under 300 is gettable.”
While England will be confident, they must heed the lesson of New Zealand’s sloppy second innings, which featured a succession of tame dismissals and needless run outs.
“If we can get to somewhere around 280 that would be good for us. If we can then get the ball in the right areas it can put England under pressure,” New Zealand’s Devon Conway said.
On a memorable day at Trent Bridge, England’s James Anderson reached 650 Test wickets when New Zealand opener Tom Latham left a straight ball that clattered into his stumps.
The 39-year-old fast bowler is just third man ever to reach the landmark after spin legends Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan.
England had been dismissed for 539 in Monday’s morning session.
Root scored a majestic 176 and Foakes added a lively 56 to ensure New Zealand held only a 14-run lead following their own mammoth first innings total of 553.
Root resumed on 163 and Foakes on 24, while New Zealand suffered a blow when Kyle Jamieson was ruled out of day four while the pace bowler awaited the results of scans on the back injury he sustained on Sunday.
Foakes took the attack to Tim Southee in the first over of the day, smashing two boundaries as the bewildered pace bowler was plundered for 12 runs.
- Nervous New Zealand -
Root joined the party with an outrageous reverse scoop off Southee that flew high over the slip cordon for his first Test six since February 2021 in India.
Trent Boult finally stemmed the bleeding as he dismissed Root, who chipped to Southee at cover after chasing a wide delivery.
Slamming the bat against his pads in frustration, Root departed to spark a collapse of five wickets for 23 runs as Boult finished with 5-106.
England made a flying start to New Zealand’s second innings when Latham bizarrely left a straight ball from Anderson.
Will Young (56) and Conway (52) looked to have put New Zealand in pole position with a 100-partnership for the second wicket.
But, after sustaining heavy punishment, England spinner Jack Leach had the last laugh as Conway top-edged a sweep towards Jonny Bairstow, who ran in from the square-leg boundary to take the catch.
New Zealand looked anxious and Young departed run out after hesitation between the opener and Mitchell proved fatal.
That brought Mitchell and Tom Blundell together again after they shared partnerships of 195 at Lord’s and 236 in the first innings in Nottingham.
Stopping those two was essential to England’s hopes of victory and they made the crucial breakthrough to remove Blundell for 24.
Rashly pulling at Stuart Broad, Blundell hung his head in frustration as the ball few straight to the perfectly positioned Stokes backward of square.
New Zealand were imploding and Southee’s dismissal was emblematic of their collapse as he was run out following a mix-up with Mitchell