DUNEDIN, New Zealand (Reuters) - New Zealand’s Neil Wagner took three wickets, including two in successive balls, to help reduce England to 81 for five at lunch on the second day of the first test at University Oval.
Jonathan Trott was on 40 at the break with Matt Prior on one after Wagner had blasted the top off England’s vaunted batting order, including taking the wickets of captain Alastair Cook (10) and Kevin Pietersen in successive deliveries.
Overhead conditions were less suited to bowling than they had been on Wednesday when New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum won the toss and asked England to bat before rain washed out the day’s play.
England’s batsmen were largely the architects of their own downfall and left ruing some loose shots on a cool morning in Dunedin.
Tim Southee made the early breakthrough when Nick Compton played a delivery on after facing just four balls to leave the visitors five for one.
Cook, dropped by debutant Bruce Martin on nine, was unable to capitalise when he failed to get over the top of a wide delivery from Wagner and was caught at point by Hamish Rutherford.
Pietersen, a nervous starter who appeared fidgety at the crease, completely misplayed the line of the next ball and was trapped in front by a delivery that would have cannoned into middle stump, leaving England 18 for three in the 11th over.
Ian Bell (24) and Trott looked to rebuild the innings before Bell blasted a full delivery from Wagner to short cover, where debutant Rutherford gathered the ball at the second go while falling backwards.
New Zealand firmly took the upperhand when Joe Root halfheartedly fended at a rising Trent Boult delivery and was caught by Dean Brownlie for four to leave the tourists floundering at 71 for five.
The New Zealand team wore black armbands to commemorate the death last Saturday of Sam Guillen, who at the age of 88 had been the country’s oldest surviving test cricketer.
Editing by Nick Mulvenney