James Vince made 76 and Mark Stoneman 60 as England took firm control of the second Test against New Zealand on Sunday, reaching 202/3 to lead by 231 runs at stumps on the third day. Joe Root was 30 not out and Dawid Malan 19 when stumps were drawn three overs early because of bad light. Vince broke a form drought with the third half-century of his career and Stoneman posted his highest Test score and second fifty of the series in a 123-run partnership for the second wicket which allowed England to build decisively on its 29-run first innings lead.
But while both batsman finally prospered on a docile pitch at Hagley Oval, they likely also gave up the chance to fully capitalize on perfect batting conditions.
Vince looked on track at least to surpass his highest test score of 83 — achieved in the first Test of the Ashes series in Australia — but a lapse in concentration cost him dearly. He was well set and batting fluently, having reached his half century from 71 balls, when he flashed unnecessarily at a wide delivery from Trent Boult and was caught by Ross Taylor who was keeping a lone vigil in the slip cordon.
Stoneman also failed to build on the strong foundation he had set over three hours and five minutes at the crease, passing his previous Test best of 57 before chasing a wide delivery from Tim Southee which gave wicketkeeper B.J. Watling his second catch of the innings.
Unfortunately for England, opener Alastair Cook remained stuck in his form trough, dismissed for 14 by Trent Boult for the fourth time in the series and ninth time in his career. He has had scores in the current two-Test series of 5, 2, 2 and 14 at an average of 5.7.
Cook's dismissal Sunday was demonstrative of his current lack of form and confidence as he unnecessarily played at a wide delivery from Boult and edged the ball to wicketkeeper B.J. Watling.
Earlier, Stuart Broad took 6/54 and shared all 10 wickets with new ball partner James Anderson as England bowled out New Zealand for 278 in reply to its first innings of 307.
It was the third time in the series that a new ball pair had taken all 10 wickets in an innings. Trent Boult and Tim Southee did so in the first innings of both Tests and they shared the three England wickets that fell on Sunday.
Broad and Anderson both took two of the four New Zealand wickets which fell Sunday as the home side added 86 runs to its overnight total of 192-6. Watling, resuming at 77, made 85 and followed his England opposite Jonny Bairstow in marshalling the tail after the failure of the top order.
New Zealand had been 36/5 before Watling and Colin de Grandhomme added 142 for the seventh wicket. While Watling's contribution on Sunday was cut short after he was bowled by Anderson, his overnight partner Tim Southee went on to make 50, his fourth test half-century.
It was the second time in his career Southee had completed the double of five wickets and a half-century in a Test - the first since he did so on debut against England in 2008.
Broad captured his 16th five-wicket bag in Tests when he dismissed Ish Sodhi (1), giving Bairstow his fifth catch of the innings, and Trent Boult (16) to end the innings. Boult put on 39 for the last wicket with Neil Wagner (24 not out) to help New Zealand reduce the first innings deficit.
(With AP Inputs)