In a remarkable day's cricket that saw England dismissed by 3.12pm for 126, as well as lose Alec Stewart for the second time in one day, 21 wickets fell as ball overwhelmed bat. Indeed any runs scored off bona fide shots were cheered to the rafters by a boisterous crowd and England may yet have cause to regret the 54 runs added for the ninth-wicket by Simon Doull and his captain, Stephen Fleming.
Mind you, England also benefited from a late partnership by Andy Caddick and Alex Tudor, whose 70 helped limit the first-innings deficit to 100. Later Caddick caused Kiwi feathers to fly with 5 for 32, a far more controlled effort than in the first innings.
The fightback was a stirring one and it would have been easy for England to have been completely out of this match. Instead they have a chance of winning it, though losing Stewart, yorked by a late inswinger from Geoff Allott just before the close, would have been a big psychological blow but with only three overs to bat, at least one nightwatchman should have been sent in.
With 205 runs now needed for victory a couple of decent partnerships could put England in contention, though judging by what has happened thus far, you sense the force will have to be with them as well.
The pitch, a bit quicker than on the first day, has played far worse than it looked at the start. If the first day was sporty, yesterday the ball appeared to talk in three languages all at once, as swing, seam and trampoline bounce disconcerted all those who came into contact with it. If none have yet scuttled, the batsmen have been humbled, though a litany of poor strokes have also contributed to the body count.
In that respect, New Zealand were particularly guilty and some of the shots played by batsmen whose inner demons should have been calmed by a 100-run lead, defied belief. Perhaps it was the surprise of losing Roger Twose for a duck to the first ball of the innings, lbw to a loosener from Caddick, that brought the others out swinging. Positive strokeplay is all very well, but the shots chosen by Chris Cairns, Dion Nash and Nathan Astle smacked of desperation in a situation where every run eked was a molehill in the mountain England will face batting last.
Only Fleming, resolutely, and Doull, by chancing his arm, got significant runs as Caddick and Alan Mullally shared eight wickets. Their efforts, plus the two late wickets by Phil Tufnell, enabled Chris Read to complete six dismissals, a record by an England wicketkeeper in his first Test.
As is so often the case with calamitous batting collapses, something mundane sparks them off. In England's case it was two unforced errors by their opening batsmen, the first a complete misjudgment of line by Stewart, who padded up to Allott in the third over of the morning. It was the same end from which Stewart had misjudged the slip catch the previous day, an error he repeated when he dropping Fleming off Caddick, when the left-hander was on one.
The dismissal of Mark Butcher, run out by half the length of the pitch required collusion and this was forthcoming in the shape of Hussain, who has previous in this area. Unable to hear the sequence of calling from the boundary, blame must be apportioned equally, though Butcher had committed himself to the run before his partner knew where the ball had gone off his thigh pad.
Hussain, who had twice found the boundary with cracking shots, received a beauty off Doull that pitched middle and clipped the top of off-stump. A conventional swing bowler, Doull bowled like a dream, his 1 for 17, a mockery to natural justice. Graham Thorpe, clearly expecting the worst, followed a ball he would never have contemplated playing in calmer circumstances, while Mark Ramprakash, playing as if sweeping a minefield, battled on for a 27-ball duck.
A score of 38 for 5 is never the best way to ease through your debut and it left England's new boys, Aftab Habib and Read, with an awful lot to do.
Like many in the England side, county cricket has not schooled them in the art of survival, and neither looked like turning their first Test innings into something substantial. As Caddick and Tudor later showed, time at the crease tends to makes things easier, though luck, too, is an ingredient that must not be underestimated when the ball moves about as much as it has these past two days. England will need much more of the same today if they are to get close.
Second day; New Zealand won toss
NEW ZEALAND - First Innings 226 (A C Parore 73).
ENGLAND - First Innings
M A Butcher run out (Horne-Doull) 11
35 min, 25 balls, 2 fours
A J Stewart lbw b Allott 1
9 min, 3 balls
*N Hussain b Doull 10
32 min, 21 balls, 2 fours
G P Thorpe c Astle b Allott 6
14 min, 9 balls
M R Ramprakash c Parore b Cairns 0
43 min, 27 balls
A Habib b Cairns 1
45 min, 27 balls
C M W Read c sub b Nash 1
26 min, 25 balls
A R Caddick c Parore b Nash 33
104 min, 73 balls, 6 fours
A J Tudor not out 32
101 min, 62 balls, 7 fours
A D Mullally c Parore b Nash 0
1 min, 1 ball
P C R Tufnell c Fleming b Cairns 6
11 min, 13 balls, 1 four
Extras (b8, lb11, nb6) 25
Total (215 min, 46.4 overs) 126
Fall: 1-5 (Stewart), 2-26 (Butcher), 3-28 (Hussain), 4-33 (Thorpe), 5-38 (Ramprakash), 6-40 (Habib), 7-45 (Read), 8-115 (Caddick), 9-115 (Mullally).
Bowling: Allott 14-3-38-2 (nb2) (7-1-22-2, 7-2-16-0); Doull 12-6-17-1 (8-5-8-1, 4-1-9-0); Cairns 9.4-3-35-3 (nb4) (6-3-14-2, 3.4-0-21-1); Nash 11-6-17-3 (5-4-3-1, 6-2-14-2).
Progress: 50: 118 min, 24.4 overs. Lunch: 56 for 7 (Caddick 13, Tudor 0) 26 overs. 100: 191 min, 41.1 overs.
NEW ZEALAND - Second Innings
R G Twose lbw b Caddick 0
1 min, 1 ball
M J Horne c Read b Mullally 1
16 min, 13 balls
*S P Fleming c Read b Tufnell 25
171 min, 86 balls, 4 fours
N J Astle c Read b Mullally 9
16 min, 14 balls, 2 fours
C D McMillan c Butcher b Mullally 15
41 min, 32 balls, 1 four
C L Cairns c Read b Caddick 3
14 min, 7 balls
A C Parore c Stewart b Caddick 0
2 min, 2 balls
D J Nash c Read b Caddick 0
18 min, 13 balls
D L Vettori b Caddick 0
2 min, 2 balls
S B Doull st Reid b Tufnell 46
63 min, 50 balls, 8 fours
G I Allott not out 0
7 min, 5 balls
Extras (b1, lb4, w1, nb2) 8
Total (179 min, 37.1 overs) 107
Fall: 1-0 (Twose), 2-5 (Horne), 3-17 (Astle), 4-39 (McMillan), 5-46 (Cairns), 6-46 (Parore), 7-52 (Nash), 8-52 (Vettori), 9-106 (Fleming).
Bowling: Caddick 14-3-32-5 (nb2) (6-0-13-1, 6-3-15-4, 2-0-4-0); Mullally 16-3-48-3 (w1) (5-2-13-2, 11-1-35-1); Tudor 5-2-15-0 (3-2-3-0, 2-0-12- 0); Tufnell 2.1-0-7-2.
Progress: 50: 107 min, 22.2 overs. 100: 161 min, 33.3 overs. Innings closed: 6.31pm.
ENGLAND - Second innings
M A Butcher not out 3
8 min, 3 balls
A J Stewart b Allott 0
4 min, 3 balls
A J Tudor not out 0
3 min, 1 ball
Total (for 1, 8 min, 1.1 overs) 3
Fall: 1-3 (Stewart).
Bowling: Allott 1-0-3-1; Doull 0.1-0-0-0.
Progress: Bad light stopped play: 6.48pm.
Umpires: S A Bucknor (WI) and P Willey.
Compiled by Jo King