New Zealand’s Daryl Mitchell scored an impressive 162 not out while Tom Blundell also hit a century to put the tourists in a strong position at 481-5 at a rain-enforced early tea break on day two of the second Test against England on Saturday.
A more aggressive Mitchell milked the runs off spinner Jack Leach during the second session, smashing a huge six before getting to 150 runs after Blundell had departed for 106 on a productive morning at Trent Bridge.
The duo had shared a partnership of 236 — New Zealand’s highest fifth-wicket stand in Tests — as the world champions heaped the pressure on the hosts in their quest to level the three-match series at 1-1.
Michael Bracewell was at the crease, having notched up a steady 40 on his Test debut, as the hosts toiled with little reward from the best part of two days after opting to bowl first on a track that has only improved for the batsmen.
New Zealand resumed their first innings on 318-4 and the overnight duo of Mitchell and Blundell brought up their 150-run stand in the opening over of the day thanks to a no-ball from Stuart Broad, before consolidating their advantage.
Having negotiated veteran seamers James Anderson and Broad in blustery early conditions, Mitchell went on to complete his second century of the series with a low edge off Matthew Potts that went through a gap in the slip cordon.
England’s poor fielding continued on Saturday as Mitchell, who was dropped early in his innings, was handed another life when Potts misjudged a lofted drive and conceded a four after the ball went through his hands and bounced off his knee.
Blundell, who missed out on a century by four runs when his batting partner scored 108 in the second innings of the previous match at Lord’s, lifted Leach over the infield for four to reach 99 before notching up his third ton in Tests.
England struck shortly afterwards as Blundell fell to Leach while looking to raise the scoring rate, with his miscued effort finding skipper Ben Stokes who made no mistake at mid-off to end the dangerous partnership.
England won the opening match of the series by five wickets. The final test is at Headingley from June 23.