New Zealand battled to 77 for one, still 134 runs behind, after being asked to follow on by England captain Alastair Cook on day three of the second Test in Wellington.
The last time an England captain enforced the follow on in a Test away from home, Gary Kirsten batted for 15 hours to save the match in Durban against Nasser Hussain’s side back in 2000, and Cook will be hoping for better fortune in pursuit of victory after the hosts were dismissed for 254 in their first innings.
Stuart Broad was the star with the ball for England after he finished with six for 51 as New Zealand’s batsmen struggled to cope with the pace and bounce he generated, with the Kiwis falling 211 runs short of their visitors’ first-innings total.
James Anderson and Steven Finn chipped in with two wickets apiece to complete the set as the tourists’ pacemen terrorised the Black Caps’ vulnerable batting line-up, despite having to toil away on a flat and largely placid pitch.
The hosts would have failed much more spectacularly to avoid the follow on had it not been for gutsy knocks of 69 and 60 by captain Brendon McCullum and wicketkeeper BJ Watling, respectively.
In reply to England's 465 all out, the Kiwis looked to build on their overnight 66 for three, but found it extremely difficult to negotiate the morning session in overcast conditions as England’s bowlers thrived.
Broad struck first with a sharp caught-and-bowled to send Kane Williamson back to the pavilion in just the fifth over of the morning, and four balls later Anderson managed to get one through the defences of the other overnight batsman Dean Brownlie. The height of impact gave the batsman hope on DRS, but Hawkeye’s verdict vindicated umpire Asad Rauf's lbw decision.
McCullum’s was the key wicket thereafter, and he hit Broad for two back-foot fours through the off-side, before pulling a short ball for a mighty six over square-leg as he compiled a breezy half-century with nine fours and that maximum.
Finn eventually dismissed the Black Caps skipper with Jonathan Trott, who infuriated Anderson with a dropped catch at slip a few overs beforehand, taking a fine catch to send the travelling supporters into raptures with the dangerous shot-maker on his way.
After McCullum was caught out it was a slippery slope for the hosts, and Tim Southee survived just five balls as he departed tamely with Broad taking a comfortable catch off Finn, who finished with two for 72 from 20 overs.
Watling’s excellent innings ended shortly afterwards as Broad claimed his fourth scalp, and the New Zealand number seven was left very dispirited after his doughty knock came to an abrupt close with his side still well short of the follow on mark.
Neil Wagner and Trent Boult were swiftly removed by Broad for his fifth and sixth wickets of the innings as he raced through the tail in clinical fashion with Prior snaffling both behind the stumps, and Bruce Martin was left stranded on 21 not out.
Cook bided his time before deciding to enforce the follow on at what was an impromptu tea interval, but the solitary reward for his side in a tough evening session after he did so was the wicket of Hamish Rutherford - a centurion at Dunedin - as Ian Bell took a fine catch close in to give Monty Panesar his only strike of the match so far.
With a mixed weather forecast for the final two days, Cook’s decision appeared to be the right one if a result is to be forced, but the tourists still have a great deal to do in the second innings and their bowlers left the Basin Reserve looking weary and frustrated by the close of play.
England remain very much in the ascendancy as they eye victory in the second Test of the three-match series, and the onus will be on the New Zealand batsmen to continue to frustrate the tourists on day four with the weather not certain to come to their rescue.