Blackcaps v England: Veteran Stuart Broad reduces NZ to tatters, as tourists chase day/night test victory at Mt Maunganui

Veteran seamer Stuart Broad has put the Blackcaps against the ropes, as England close on a day/night test victory inside four days at Mt Maunganui.

New Zealand have barely reached stumps on the third day, reeling at 63/5 in their quest for a record 394 runs to take out the first encounter of the two-test series.

Trailing by just 19 runs after the first innings, the home side battled gamely in the field and may have fancied their chances, when they dismissed England talisman Joe Root  at 237/6 with the final ball before tea.

Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson celebrate an NZ wicket
Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson celebrate an NZ wicket. Photo credit: Photosport

But the English tailenders added 137 runs for the final four wickets to ease their predicament and then quickly knocked the top off the Blackcaps order to take total control of the contest. 

Broad, 36, produced an incredible spell that saw him mow through openers Tom Latham and Devon Conway, batting kingpin Kane Williamson and first-innings centurion Tom Blundell, all clean bowled.

At 28/5, New Zealand had already avoided their lowest-ever test score - 26 against England at Eden Park in 1955 - and by stumps, they had also surpassed their most recent trainwreck, 62 against India at Wankhede in 2021.

Spin allrounder Michael Bracewell was leading the resistance, reaching 25 not out, with Daryl Mitchell at the other end, when they resume on Sunday afternoon.

Starting the day at 79/2, England quickly lost nightwatchman Broad, but found useful contributions from their middle order, with Root (57), Harry Brook (54) and Ben Foakes (51) all reaching half-centuries, and Ollie Pope falling one run short.

Root was out playing another rash reverse sweep to Bracewell with the break only minutes away, but Foakes stabilised the lower order, with support from captain Ben Stokes and bowler Ollie Robinson. 

In the process, Stokes created history, surpassing coach Brendon McCullum for the most sixes in test cricket.

The NZ bowlers were again punished severely by England's high-octane approach, but veteran Neil Wagner was particularly targeted, conceding 110 overs off his 13 overs.

After taking Root's wicket, Bracewell bowled throughout the entire second session, removing Stokes with a stumping and eventually dislodging spin counterpart Jack Leach in identical fashion to end the England innings after dinner.

New Zealand again inherited the most testing of the batting conditions and simply had no answer to Broad, who took his bowling partnership with Jimmy Anderson past Aussies Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne as test cricket's most successful.

Robinson chipped in with the wicket of Henry Nicholls, caught behind by keeper Foakes, leaving the Blackcaps in a dire position to begin day four.

England 325/9d & 374 (Root 57, Brook 54, Foakes 51; Tickner 3/55, Bracewell 3/68)

NZ 306 & 63/5 (Bracewell 25no, Latham 15; Broad 4/21)

England lead by 331 runs

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