CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand, April 2 (Reuters) - New Zealand struck to remove half centurions Joe Root and Dawid Malan in the space of three deliveries on the fourth morning of the second test on Monday but England still reached lunch on 278 for five with a lead of 307.
The hosts are looking for a first series win over England since 1999 after winning the opening day-night test in Auckland but it was a first win on the road in 13 attempts for the tourists that looked most likely after day three.
Skipper Root and Malan resumed at Hagley Oval with England on 202-3 looking to push cautiously towards a position where they might declare later in the day.
Both overnight batsmen eased past the half century mark - a 39th for Root, number six for Malan - before the double strike from the home bowlers put a spanner in the works.
Malan was the first to go for 53 when he chipped a medium pace Colin de Grandhomme delivery to Henry Nicholls at midwicket and three balls later Root was caught behind from an outside edge off paceman Neil Wagner for 54.
Ben Stokes, who had already given the ailing Tim Southee a difficult chance with an edge to the cordon in his 12 not out, and Jonny Bairstow (two not out) will resume for the second session. (Reporting by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney; Editing by Gene Cherry)