Paul Collingwood and Tim Ambrose dampened New Zealand's hopes of a result in the first cricket Test here Saturday as England meandered to 347 for seven at lunch on the fourth day.
England still trail New Zealand's first innings 470 by 123 runs but the chances of either side effecting a decision with five sessions remaining were fading with each ball bowled.
New Zealand started the day looking for quick wickets in the hope that it would lead to a thrilling finish.
"We can set ourselves up if we knock them over early. Then we can set them a target and rock and roll them on the last day," offspinner Jetan Patel said at the end of the third day.
But when Collingwood and Ambrose resumed with England at 286 for six they were there for survival and not to push the scoring along.
They added 49 in 90 minutes of play before Collingwood was dismissed for 66 when he was trapped in front to give Jacob Oram the only wicket of the morning.
Collingwood looked unhappy with the decision but television replays showed the ball would have hit the top of the stumps.
It was just reward for New Zealand allrounder Oram who, in his previous over, found the edge of Ambrose's bat but wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum was unable to hold the difficult chance.
Ambrose relished the life and had moved on to 55 at lunch for the distinction of posting a half-century in his Test debut.
He brought up his 50 driving Oram through the covers for four, his fifth boundary of the innings.
|New Zealand 1st innings 470||R. Taylor 120, J. How 92, D. Vettori 88, R. Sidebottom 4-90, P Collingwood 2-42|
|England 1st innings|
|A. Cook||c sub (Horsley) b Martin||38|
|M. Vaughan||c McCullum b Patel||63|
|M. Hoggard||c Fleming b Martin||2|
|A. Strauss||b Vettori||43|
|K. Pietersen||c and b Vettori||42|
|I. Bell||b Mills||25|
|P. Collingwood||not out||41|
|T. Ambrose||not out||23|
|Extras||b3, lb1, nb5||9|
|Total||for 6 wkts||286|
|Fall of wkts||1-84, 2-86, 3-130, 4-159, 5-203, 6-245|
|Martin 24-10-53-2, Mills 21-6-61-1, Patel 35-10-90-1 (1nb), Oram 16-8-18-0, Vettori 38-13-60-2 (4nb)|