Leeds, England,May 27: New Zealand was hanging onto the second test by its fingernails as Ross Taylor and Dean Brownlie led it to tea at 68-3 against England on the fourth day Monday at Headingley.
Set 468 to achieve an unprecedented win, New Zealand's best hope was to survive to stumps and hope the rain forecasted to arrive in the evening washed out the last day, as it did the first.
Under partly cloudy skies, Taylor was 9 not out and Brownlie 3 not out England, already sure of winning the brief series, delayed its chances of sweeping the Kiwis after not enforcing the follow-on on Sunday afternoon by batting past lunch on Monday.
When the declaration finally came, at 287-5, England was ahead by a seemingly unnecessary 468 with a nominal 61 overs to bowl out New Zealand before stumps.
Only twice have the Kiwis made a successful fourth-innings chase of 300 or more, and the highest was 324 against Pakistan at Christchurch in 1994.
As expected, this chase didn't begin well.
Peter Fulton was first down for 5, taken aback by a sharp riser from Stuart Broad and caught at gully by Ian Bell. Kane Williamson was lbw to Graeme Swann for 3, beaten by the turn and the TV umpire.
Losing Hamish Rutherford five minutes before tea was a major blow. He'd settled in for 42 off 51 balls before he edged a Swann delivery which rebounded off his pads to Joe Root at short leg.
Earlier, England serenely extended its overnight lead from an already seemingly untouchable 296 to 400-plus as the top order got in more batting practice.
Captain Alastair Cook duly got his 25th test hundred and Jonathan Trott his 16th half century to keep up his test average.
Cook, resuming on 88, was eventually out for 130, and Trott perished after lunch for 76.