Yet another spell of late collapses left the first test evenly balanced after the third day at Lord's with England closing on 180-6 and leading by 205 runs.
A vastly improved bowling display from England helped skittle the Black Caps out for just 207 after they emerged on their overnight score of 152-4, helping the hosts to a narrow first innings lead of 25.
Alastair Cook's men then moved into a commanding position at 159-2 after a century partnership between Joe Root and Jonathan Trott - but as both sides have done before a late collapse helped New Zealand back into the game.
Tim Southee was the main protagonist with three wickets as England lost four wickets for just 12 runs as they eventually ended the day on 180-6.
Still with a lead of 205 though, and with the pitch showing promising signs of turn for Graeme Swann to exploit it should be an exciting fourth day in prospect.
England still also have Ian Bell at the crease, after he dropped down the order due to feeling unwell, and it looked for a long time like he wouldn't be needed as Root and Trott put on 120 runs for the third wicket after England lost Cook and Nick Compton in consecutive overs with the score on 36.
Root fell on 71 when bowled by Southee, who had been off the field for a lot of the day with a hand injury - one of five New Zealanders who required treatment including wicket-keeper BJ Watling who could not return due to a knee injury - Brendon McCullum picked up the gloves.
Jonny Bairstow only lasted 13 balls before he was also bowled by Southee, with an in-swinger grazing his pads before slamming into the stumps - and suddenly England looked nervous at 167-4.
Trott was narrowly missed by Ross Taylor at slip soon after before he made his half century, but he was then deceived by a turning ball from part-time spinner Kane Williamson on 56 - something that will not have been lost on Swann.
Matt Prior had looked far from comfortable as he looked to improve on his golden duck from the first innings, but he again failed to get on the scoreboard as he lasted 11 balls this time before miss-timing a pull shot off Southee and returning to the hut with a pair.
Steve Finn and Bell remained at the crease at the close, and Bell in particular will be given instructions to stretch what looks a narrow lead but given the nature of the pitch could go either way.
New Zealand had also looked in a good position at the start of the day before they lost their last six wickets for the addition of 55 runs as England bowled in a much more disciplined manner than the second day.
McCullum went to Stuart Broad off just the fourth ball of the day, and both James Anderson and Steve Finn built on that fine start by cleaning up the last five wickets between them.
Finn finished with 4-63 while Anderson took 5-47 to claim a fourth five-wicket haul at Lord's as New Zealand failed to make it even to lunch.