It was a back and forth day one of the second test between England and New Zealand as the hosts closed on 258/7 at Edgbaston.
England openers Rory Burns and Dom Sibley made it to lunch unscathed after captain Joe Root chose to bat first, but familiar failings saw the side fall from 72/0 to 85/3 and then 175/6.
Half-centuries from Burns and Dan Lawrence offered some resistance for Root's side, but New Zealand will be the happier of the two teams overnight.
Root won the toss and opted to bat, and the first runs of the day came via a thick outside edge through the cordon off the bat of Rory Burns, before Dom Sibley flicked one through the leg side for a couple to get off the mark.
A wild Matt Henry wide excited the 18,000-strong Birmingham crowd, and Burns and Sibley marshalled the first hour well despite regular bowling changes from New Zealand stand-in captain Tom Latham.
Scoring in the morning session was slow. England had just 27 runs on the board after 16 overs, but crucially were without loss.
Sibley registered his first boundary the very next ball as Neil Wagner went fuller - Sibley flashed at it and squirted the ball just wide of Will Young at point to pick up his first four.
Scoring accelerated in the second hour of the morning session as Burns and Sibley both passed 20, and the 50 was soon up for England without loss at the end of the 20th over via a Sibley flick square for four as Daryl Mitchell strayed way too straight.
Sibley cut spinner Ajaz Patel through cover for four as lunch approached, and England reached the break on 67/0 - the first time since 2011 they had batted out the opening session of a home test match without loss.
New Zealand fight back
Sibley edged Henry through third man for the first boundary of the afternoon session, but the very next ball the opener flirted with one back of a length, edging through to Tom Blundell for 35.
New man Zak Crawley followed suit just six balls later. After almost being cut in half by a Neil Wagner delivery that swung back in, Crawley jabbed at a ball across him that stayed straight, edging to Daryl Mitchell at third slip for a duck to continue his poor run of form.
Root followed for four as the England collapse began, Henry drawing a nick from the England captain the ball after he had edged through the gully for a nervous boundary.
Rory Burns brought up England’s 100 with a cut through the off side for four as he and Surrey teammate Ollie Pope tried to rebuild, and Burns reached his 50 with a punch through the off side off Mitchell - the half-century arriving from 141 balls with five fours.
Pope cut Patel for four and looked to use his feet to the spinner, but he was gone fourth ball of the 50th over, again trying to cut. The ball was short and wide, but Pope directed the ball into the gloves of a welcoming Tom Blundell and headed back to the pavilion for 19.
New man Dan Lawrence survived an LBW review on zero before getting off the mark, but Patel started to cause the Essex man issues outside off stump with the ball beginning to turn.
The batsman won the mini battle in the end though, carving Patel for his first boundary of the innings through cover to move to seven.
Tea soon arrived with England 152/4. By far New Zealand’s session, but with Rory Burns still hanging in there unbeaten on 73 with Dan Lawrence on 11.
England below par
Burns continued to play positively after the interval and punched Trent Boult down the ground nicely for the first boundary of the evening session.
Lawrence then unconvincingly earned his first four of the evening when trying to leave a Henry ball outside off. Another edge followed to register four more.
Boult soon had the man New Zealand wanted though. After being squared up earlier in the over, Burns edged to Tom Latham at slip and was on his way for 81.
Trent Boult! It's Burns. He's out for 81 thanks to a good catch from skipper Tom Latham at second slip. England now 169/5 as Bracey joins Lawrence 20*. Follow play LIVE in NZ with @sparknzsport. #ENGvNZ pic.twitter.com/XAQUihRSeD— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) June 10, 2021
James Bracey made his way to the middle, but his stay didn’t last long. He flashed at a wide one from Trent Boult first ball and was caught at third slip for his second duck in a row in an England shirt, leaving him with no runs from two innings.
The Gloucestershire man looked gutted as he made his way off. Olly Stone made his way out at eight with England in serious trouble.
New Zealand were into the tail, but Stone provided some resistance, carving Wagner through point to move into double figures and take England past 200. Another thick edge through third man brought a second boundary from the over.
Blundell dropped Lawrence off Patel on 36 - a tough chance, but one an international wicketkeeper would have expected to take.
Lawrence closed in on his 50 with a drive down the ground off Wagner following a ball change, but Stone soon fell to Patel for 20, trying to sweep and being hit bang in front - a review could not save him.
Lawrence brought up his third test 50 in seven games in the final over before the new ball, and in good time, from 75 balls with eight fours.
New Zealand took the new ball straight away, but Lawrence and Mark Wood saw it off nicely - Lawrence executing a nicely-timed cover drive and flick for four in the 85th over to keep the run rate up.
A Black Caps review for LBW against Wood showed bat first soon after, but Wood was given out the next over by umpire Richard Illingworth, this time for a caught behind. The fast bowler sent it upstairs and replays showed the ball had actually hit pad and the decision was overturned.
England’s 250 was brought up in the 88th over as play entered the final few overs, and Wood turned on the style the very next ball, striking down the ground and beating Wagner at mid-on pick up four.
Lawrence drove another boundary down the ground off Boult to move to 67 in the penultimate over, and that is what the Essex man ended on at the close of play, with Wood unbeaten on 12 at the other end.
An up and down day for England with the likes of Burns and Lawrence impressing, whilst Crawley and Bracey struggled again - they closed on 258/7 with plenty to play for in the rest of the game.