Jamie How marked his 27th birthday with an unbeaten 66, but New Zealand were still in a little trouble on the fifth and final day of the first Test against England at Lord’s yesterday.
New Zealand in their second innings were 113 for three at lunch, a lead of just 71 runs, with 72 overs still to be bowled.
First innings hero Brendon McCullum was 10 not out. New Zealand resumed on 40 without loss, a deficit of two, with How unbeaten on 26 and Aaron Redmond, who had avoided a pair on his Test debut, 14 not out.
Only seven runs had been added when Redmond, pushing forward with an angled bat, edged James Anderson straight to Andrew Strauss at first slip.
And they were only 10 in front when, 17 balls later, James Marshall was leg before wicket for a duck to an in-swinging delivery from left-arm quick Ryan Sidebottom, who had taken four for 77 in the first innings, the first with a changed ball.
Anderson almost struck next when Ross Taylor, attempting to withdraw the bat when on 3, edged him between the diving Alastair Cook and Paul Collingwood, at second and third slips respectively.
An even better chance was missed when How, on 46, drove loosely at the last delivery of Stuart Broad’s first over yesterday, only for Strauss to drop the head-high slip chance as the ball burst through his hands.
New Zealand were then 75 for two, just 33 ahead.
How then got away with another unconvincing drive to complete his second Test 50, off 98 balls with seven fours.
When England switched to spinner Monty Panesar, in the 20th over of the day, How swept the left-armer’s second ball for four. But Panesar did not have long to wait for a wicket. His sixth ball had Taylor, struck on the boot, lbw and New Zealand were, in effect, 57 for three.
England, who were well placed at 148 for one after a first century stand between the opening duo of Strauss and Cook, had to settle for a modest first-innings lead of 42 after being bowled out for 319.