England face tough final-innings chase after being bowled out for 204 in Auckland

Last Updated: 25/03/13 7:30am

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New Zealand took a firm grip on the third and final Test after Trent Boult's six-wicket haul helped bowl England out for just 204 in Auckland.

Having resumed on 50-2, the tourists slipped to 72-5 in their first innings before Matt Prior (73) and Joe Root (45) shared a battling century stand for the fifth wicket.

Although England lost their last four wickets for four runs to the second new ball, Boult taking three of them to finish with career-best figures of 6-68, they were not asked to follow on by home skipper Brendon McCullum.

Instead the Kiwis lurched their way to 35-3 by the close of a second successive day that saw 11 wickets fall at Eden Park, though the hosts still hold a commanding lead of 274.

Despite the late wickets, England know they are in a major hole. Their hopes of a second successive series triumph on their winter travels were badly damaged by their inability to deal with the swinging ball.

Tim Southee dismissed overnight duo Nick Compton - who faced 77 balls for his 13 runs - and Ian Bell (17) courtesy of lbw decisions. The wickets were long overdue for the seamer - he hadn't enjoyed any success since the second over of the first Test in Dunedin.

Boult sent back Jonny Bairstow for three by the same mode of dismissal, though only after McCullum had successfully called for a review to challenge a 'not out' decision for the second time in the morning.

Good fortune

Root and Prior combined to put on 101 either side of lunch, though the latter did have a moment of good fortune when he was missed at second slip by Dean Brownlie when he had 24 to his name.

He went on to make the most of the let-off, striking 13 boundaries before aiming a lazy drive off Neil Wagner straight to Hamish Rutherford at point.

His demise, just before the new ball, led to a collapse; Stuart Broad and Steven Finn both fell to Boult with the score on 200, while the left-armer celebrated his maiden Test five-for by getting James Anderson caught behind three balls later.

Left with only Monty Panesar for company, Root was bowled for 45 aiming across the line at Southee (3-44). The young Yorkshireman had batted for nearly four hours, showing his more experienced team-mates just how what could be achieved with a bit of hard graft.

Beginning their second innings with a lead of 239, New Zealand opened the door for England again by losing three wickets for just eight runs.

Broad had Hamish Rutherford splicing a simple catch to gully and Ross Taylor lbw playing across a straight one either side of Anderson bowling Kane Williamson off an inside edge.

However, Peter Fulton - a centurion on day one - and Brownlie dropped anchor through to the close, with seven of the final eight overs being maidens.

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