England v New Zealand, 2nd Investec Test, Headingley, 3rd day May 31, 2015

Watling hundred puts NZ in control

New Zealand 350 and 338 for 6 (Watling 100*, Craig 15*) lead England 350 (Lyth 107, Cook 75, Southee 4-83) by 338 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

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BJ Watling's unbeaten century guided New Zealand to a position of dominance

New Zealand came into this match needing to force a victory in order to maintain their two-year unbeaten run in Test series. They were never likely to go anything other than flat out in pursuit of that goal and, after another exhilarating day of this second Investec Test, it appeared as if the relentless pace at which they play the game may have finally broken England.

BJ Watling's fifth Test hundred was the most significant individual contribution of another bristling team display, while half-centuries from Martin Guptill and New Zealand's perennially pugnacious captain, Brendon McCullum, left England facing a run chase the like of which they have never previously achieved. By the close, the target had surpassed what England chased on this ground against Australia in 2001 - when Mark Butcher starred - and had crept beyond the 332 they made at Melbourne in 1928

More than 400 runs were scored in the day, which suggested that the pitch remained good for batting, but signs of variable bounce during the final session would have provided further encouragement for the tourists. Mark Wood took three wickets after Stuart Broad had threatened to bend proceedings to his will but England lacked for control as the New Zealand innings again barrelled along at more than 4.5 runs an over.

Few English grounds have a reputation for voodoo as Headingley and McCullum's New Zealand are a side who relish sticking pins into the opposition. Under grouchy skies in the morning, Tim Southee obliterated England's middle order; then, as things brightened up, the tourists put on another compelling display with the bat.

Broad is capable of casting a few magical spells himself and he appeared at his Malfoy best when following an old-school cameo with the bat by taking two early wickets. His 46 from 39 balls helped England to add 83 for the last two wickets, after they had suffered a collapse of 6 for 29 against the second new ball.

That left the two teams level on first-innings scores - for only the eighth time in Test history - but significant contributions from four of the New Zealand top six tipped the scales firmly their way heading into the fourth day. The weather in Leeds has been unsettled but it is unlikely to prevent a positive result.

Whenever New Zealand perform well McCullum can usually be found leading courageously from the front and his century stand with Watling for the fifth wicket shut down England's hopes of running through them quickly. In the process, McCullum became only the second New Zealander to pass 6000 Test runs.

His innings, on this occasion, was one of controlled aggression and featured just four boundaries as he was outscored by his partner. McCullum survived an lbw review against Joe Root when replays showed he had got some glove on the ball while trying to sweep; Watling also got some glove on a Moeen Ali delivery that bounced more than expected but Jos Buttler couldn't hold it tumbling forwards. Watling's riposte was immediate, sweeping his next delivery high for six.

McCullum was eventually removed by Wood, lbw to a delivery that DRS judged to be clipping the bails, but Watling kept his focus to record a first hundred against England. He had retained his place in the side as a specialist batsman, after a knee injury at Lord's prevented him from keeping wicket, and more than lived up to the designation.

New Zealand had been reduced to 23 for 2 as Broad, bouncing in after his contribution with the bat, struck twice in his opening spell, having Tom Latham and Kane Williamson caught behind in what was now a one-innings match. Guptill and Ross Taylor resolved to treat it like a one-day match and dashed off a fifty stand in just 28 balls; they had slowed down only marginally by the time Taylor chipped Wood to cover after adding 99 in 14.3 overs.

Taylor was missed at second slip by Gary Ballance on 6, when a hard, high edge off James Anderson burst through the hands. Guptill also kept the cordon interested early on but survived a tricky start to make 70 at almost a run a ball. He nicked Anderson through a vacant fourth slip and saw another edge fall short, off Broad; when Wood beat him with a crackerjack delivery on 29, England reviewed only to discover that it had flicked the trouser pocket on its way through to Buttler.

He went to his fifty with a six and, with McCullum alongside him, New Zealand looked set to race away until Wood had him caught at slip shortly before tea. McCullum and Watling then chose a more judicious approach to add 121 in 32 overs.

In the morning, an extended new-ball salvo from Southee continued a tenacious fightback from New Zealand. Southee finished with 4 for 83 but England's last three batsman played a carefree hand to erase the first-innings deficit and repay some the pain inflicted by their counterparts in similar style at the start of the second day.

The 51-run stand for the eighth-wicket between Broad and Wood was England's second highest of the innings, after the 177 put on by the openers, and came at more than a run a ball. Broad summoned some of the buccaneering brio of his former batting life, carving and swiping his highest Test score since last summer's series against India, at the end of which he was struck in the face by a Varun Aaron bouncer, a blow that caused more long-term mental damage than physical.

Having lost three wickets to the second new ball the previous evening, England's slide became what looked like a terminal plummet as Southee struck three more times in his first three overs. That meant they had lost 7 for 52 from the moment the centurion Adam Lyth was sloppily run out on Saturday with England apparently cruising at 215 for 1.

Overnight rain led to a slightly delayed start and, in chilly, overcast conditions, New Zealand were the side raring to get going. Ian Bell was the first to depart, lured into a front-foot poke flew to second slip, where Mark Craig held on to a smart, low catch as Guptill dived in front of him. Following his 143 in Antigua in April, Bell has made scores of 11, 1, 0, 0, 1, 29 and 12, a worryingly bleak run for the most experienced member of England's new-look middle order.

Southee, freshly arrived from the IPL, suffered something of a mauling at Lord's but here he found the length and the movement to form a one-man inquisition. Going wide on the crease, he straightened a rising delivery to take Buttler's outside edge, Taylor the catcher, and Guptill then made it three from three in the slips by scooping up another thick edge from Moeen.

Southee and Boult got through 22 overs together with the second new ball, spread over the second evening and third morning, their combined figures of 6 for 78 ripping the stuffing out of England. By the end of the day, they were still struggling to catch breath.

Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @alanroderick

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