When New Zealand arrived in England, no one noticed. The entire cricket community, and sport's coverage machine, was focusing on the Strauss-Moores-Pietersen situation. Brendon McCullum didn't even turn up with the rest of his players. Had he turned up on a golden private jet, naked, carrying a massive scepter and wearing a crown, KP and Strauss still would have got more coverage.

There was a feeling that this late arrival from several players and their IPL duties would harm New Zealand. Yet, Kane Williamson made a hundred and Trent Boult took a five-wicket haul. This was one of the best New Zealand sides to travel to England: unbeaten in their last six outings, playing a side with no full time coach, being publicly laughed at and who had won once in their last four series.

New Zealand's time was now. And they had it several times in this Test.

At 30 for 4 on day one of a Test, the bowling side may not order their celebratory drinks, book their VIP rooms or plan their victory dances. But they are confident and they are in charge. At that point on day one, New Zealand had the ball performing magic tricks. Their debutant had his wildest fantasies answered. Their gun bowler was in the groove. And the man who tormented England in their last meeting had a wicket as well.

England's next two batsmen made 90s. The two after that made 50s. Seven wickets on a good batting pitch still looked okay but England had also put up over 350. It was now pretty close to an even day.

Then at 403 for 3 on the third morning, with a lead of 14, their best batsman and their captain at the crease, New Zealand were yet again not planning their celebrations, but were still confident and still in charge. At that point they had blunted England and the new ball, twice. They had managed to survive England bowling very well virtually unscathed. It was their game. All they had to do was continue and bat England out of it.

New Zealand go out their way, slashing high and wide to a deep third man. An attacking noble death to some. A stupid shot to most. They had a lead of 134. They lost by a 124.

McCullum batted as if his back was on fire. He went out, and they added another 120 runs. 134 is not a tiny lead, but it's not a life changing one either. England were still in the game.

At 25 for 2 and 74 for 3 on the third evening and then fourth morning, New Zealand had wickets, a ball that was moving, and a lead. They were again confident and again in charge. At that point Tim Southee made people question Gary Ballance's technique, Boult was putting on a masterclass and it seemed when, not if, New Zealand would be batting that day. Then they very nearly took Joe Root's wicket at square leg with a clever field. All they had to do was move Corey Anderson in an inch or so more and the game was practically theirs. Rod Tucker in the third umpire's chair decided the catch was a bump ball. New Zealand were never in front in this Test again.

Today New Zealand had a quality morning. They shrugged off Southee's most-ever runs conceded in a Test. Mark Craig's control issues were not relevant. Boult wasn't scored off for 15 balls. England's hopes of smashing the ball around were taken away largely by him alone. They now had a chase of 345 and only one new ball to combat. They had ruled the morning. Now they had the batting line up and the whole afternoon to take back their Test.

Two minutes into the afternoon Martin Guptill was out. Tom Latham was out on the same score, 0. Ross Taylor was out soon after.

No. 5 is when Brendon McCullum, New Zealand's gutsy and courageous leader, is supposed to walk out. In the field, McCullum seems to spend 20% of his time moving the field, 20% of his time, talking to his bowlers, and 60% of his time diving at mid-off to try and save a boundary. He doesn't lead from the front, he leads from an outstretched horizontal run-saving position. When he stood up from his press conference earlier this Test, his body gave an audible creak. At another point in the Test he misfielded and spent several minutes rearranging his hamstring. He has given virtually everything he has.

Now, with his team falling down, instead of the bullocking figure of McCullum bursting down the stairs, the less imposing BJ Watling comes down. Watling is a success in their tactical gamble. But it was only a year and half back when McCullum batted for 13 hours to secure a draw for New Zealand against India. Now he is not entering the field when his team needs him more than ever.

When McCullum finally makes it out to the middle, it is only after Ben Stokes has woken up the crowd with a great three-pall combo to take down the seemingly unmovable Williamson. McCullum rushes out. Takes his guard. Gets a murderous inswinger, and leaves the crease. One ball.

There are times when Corey Anderson, and his IPL contract, take boundaries from England, but if victory in the first hour looked like an achievable goal, now victory seems like an unattainable dream. Watling continues to battle for a while, but when he goes, New Zealand's defence leaves with him.

New Zealand go out their way, slashing high and wide to a deep third man. An attacking noble death to some. A stupid shot to most. They had a lead of 134. They lost by a 124.

New Zealand have beaten England eight times in their entire history. Eight victories in 85 years. Eight victories in 100 Tests. This was their 48th loss. This was their time. They saw it. They grabbed at it. They fumbled. They had it taken away. They won't go to Headingley confident or in charge. They will go 1-0 down.

Jarrod Kimber is a writer for ESPNcricinfo. @ajarrodkimber