Kane Williamson starred for New Zealand as they outplayed England on the third day of the first Test at Lord’s on Saturday.
Williamson’s well-constructed 132 was the centrepiece of New Zealand’s 523 all out which gave them a first-innings lead of 134.
The Black Caps followed-up with two early wickets to reduce England to 2-25 in their second dig.
But England captain Alastair Cook (32 not out) and Ian Bell (29 not out) survived some testing overs to take the hosts to 2-74 at stumps – a deficit of 60 runs.
Williamson’s innings was all the more impressive as he was one of several New Zealand players who had arrived in England just days before the match following stints in the Twenty20 Indian Premier League.
“It is nice to get your name on the (Lord’s honours) board but at the same time I was disappointed to get out at the stage I did,” Williamson told Sky Sports.
“The challenge is the mental transition from a shorter format to the longer one and make good decisions over a longer period of time.”
Looking ahead to the fourth day, Williamson added: “It is important that we are patient and the bowlers stick to their areas.”
New Zealand, bidding for just their second Test victory at Lord’s of all time, resumed Saturday on 2-303, with Williamson 92 not out and Ross Taylor unbeaten on 47.
Batting with impressive serenity for a 24-year-old, Williamson’s century came in just over three hours off 148 balls including 12 fours.
It was the talented stroke-player’s 10th hundred in 40 Tests – an impressive strike-rate – and the 14th by a New Zealand batsman in a Test at Lord’s.
But batting in overcast conditions became significantly more challenging once England took the new ball after three overs.
The extra bounce proved Taylor’s undoing when, on 62, he fended at a rising ball from Stuart Broad and was brilliantly caught, one-handed down the legside at full stretch, by diving wicket-keeper Jos Buttler.
New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum (42), struck his first ball, from Broad, through cover-point for four and pulled Stokes for six.
But his typically aggressive knock ended when he miscued an attempted pull off debutant paceman Mark Wood to Root at third man.
McCullum faced just 38 balls, including six fours and a six.
Debutant Mark Wood, denied a first Test wicket on Friday by an umpire review for a marginal no-ball, saw fortune again turn in his favour when Buttler held another superb catch to dismiss Corey Anderson off a genuine leg-glance.
“It was nice to get wickets in the end,” said Durham quick Wood, who finished with three for 93 in 27 overs.
“Once the nerves had calmed, I showed people what I could do.”
Williamson, who had survived a stumping chance on 92 on Friday, was given another reprieve on 120 when he guided Stokes to second slip only for Bell to drop the catch.
It was the second time in the match that Bell had dropped a slip catch off the unlucky Durham all-rounder.
Williamson was eventually out when an inside edge off his pad against Ali was caught by Gary Ballance at backward short leg.
But wicket-keeper BJ Watling, who’d spent much of England’s first innings off the field with a knee injury, struck a breezy 61 not out including 11 fours.
England’s shoddy display in the field was exemplified by the fact they conceded 67 extras – the fifth-highest total in any Test innings.