Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor mastered a lifeless England attack to lift New Zealand to 303 for two at the close on the second day of the first Test at Lord’s on Friday.
Replying to England’s 389, the pair shared an unbroken third-wicket partnership of 155 to give the touring side the ascendancy in the match.
Williamson was 92 not out at the close with Taylor on 47 and New Zealand will look to build a big lead on Saturday to put pressure on the hosts in their second innings.
Tom Latham and Martin Guptill also made fluent half centuries in a solid opening partnership of 148 before the former, on 59, was trapped lbw by spinner Moeen Ali.
Three balls later Guptill drove Stuart Broad loosely to cover where Gary Ballance took a fine sprawling catch to dismiss the elegant right-hander for 70.
That was England’s last success of the day, however, as the compact Williamson went about his work.
He pushed the ball around cleverly and efficiently dispatched loose balls to the boundary, reaching his fifty off 78 deliveries.
Taylor started watchfully but he played a couple of signature sweetly-timed drives in the final session to signal his return to form after a poor run.
England captain Alastair Cook rotated his bowlers but none of the seamers extracted any movement and the hosts were sloppy in the field, Ian Bell spilling a catch in the slips and Jos Buttler missing a late stumping chance.
New Zealand took three wickets in the first hour to wrap up the England innings after the hosts resumed on 354 for seven.
Moeen reached his fifty before edging left-arm seamer Trent Boult to stand-in wicketkeeper Latham for 58.
Broad’s miserable batting form continued when he nicked Boult through to Latham for three and James Anderson, on 11, was caught and bowled by Matt Henry.
Boult completed figures of four for 79 and Henry took four for 93 on his debut.