Manchester: Monty Panesar returned his best figures in Test cricket here Sunday but England were still left needing to rewrite the record books at Old Trafford to beat New Zealand.
At stumps, on the third day of the second Test, England were 76 for one in their second innings, needing a further 218 runs to reach their victory target of 294 and so go 1-0 up in this three-match series.
No side had ever made more to win an Old Trafford Test than the 231 for three England posted against the West Indies four years ago.
Panesar took six for 37, including his 100th Test wicket.
He surpassed his previous best innings return of six for 126 against New Zealand at Napier in March as the Black Caps, who had been 85 for two, were bowled out for 114 in their second innings.
But of arguably greater significance, on a day when 16 wickets fell, was the five for 66 taken earlier by Panesar's rival left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori.
New Zealand captain Vettori's return helped dismiss England for 202 and so gave his side a commanding first innings lead of 278.
"I was pleased in the second innings I managed to get some wickets," Panesar told reporters. "I enjoy bowling here," added the 26-year-old, 25 of whose 101 Test wickets have come at Old Trafford.
Worryingly for England, this was the 11th straight match since the fourth Test against the West Indies at the Riverside in June where they'd failed to reach the first innings benchmark total of 400.
And that meant the pressure was on the bowlers, especially Panesar on a spin-friendly surface, to keep New Zealand in check and England in the game. "We as a unit, we knew had we had to bowl them out if were still to be in this game and have a chance if winning this Test match," Panesar said.
Panesar, who reckoned England were "slightly ahead", added: "We've set ourselves a good platform.
"It is a tough pitch to bat on but hopefully, with the line-up we have, we can knock those runs off although Daniel Vettori will have a big role."
There were times when Panesar's natural exuberance in running down the pitch when appealing threatened to go beyond acceptable limits and land the Northamptonshire bowler in disciplinary trouble.
Panesar, who said he had been warned to calm down in the past by umpires stressed Australian official Simon Taufel had not had a quiet word with him here Sunday.
"I try to enjoy my bowling and get excited, rather than feeling tense.
"I'm not aware of my movements when I'm appealing. I just appeal and then I realise I'm quite near the batsman by the end of it."
This was the second time in successive innings Vettori had taken five wickets after his man-of-the-match winning five for 69 in the drawn first Test at Lord's.
Vettori struck again before the close when Alastair Cook was well-caught off bat and thigh pad by James Marshall at short leg to leave England 60 for one.
Andrew Strauss was 27 not out at stumps with England captain Michael Vaughan unbeaten on 12.
"I think we are in front," said New Zealand seamer Iain O'Brien, who marked his Test recall with an economical three for 49 in 23 first innings overs.
"We were pretty happy being near 300 in front. No team has scored more than 231 to win a Test here. It's going to be a hell of a chase. If they get it, well done."
O'Brien, in for the ill Tim Southee, had to contend with bowling into a stiff breeze but that was no issue for the 31-year-old from 'windy Wellington'.
"It's what I've been doing for last seven or eight years at one of the windiest grounds in the world. Today it was blowing even harder than at the Basin Reserve."
Both teams suffered batting collapses on Sunday.
England lost their last six wickets for 42 runs while New Zealand's final seven fell for 29.
The Black Caps' innings ended when they were nine down because Daniel Flynn was still unable to bat after retiring hurt when hit on the head by a bouncer from James Anderson on Friday..
The hard-hitting Brendon McCullum, who made a run-a-ball 97 in the first innings at Lord's, had the ability to take the game away from England, but instead was lbw for nought to Panesar after missing a sweep.
Ross Taylor, who made a career-best 154 not out in the first innings, became Panesar's 100th Test wicket when, on 15, he too was lbw.
England had only narrowly avoided the follow-on with No 9 Broad seeing them to safety with 30.
New Zealand all-rounder Jacob Oram didn't bowl Sunday because of a neck injury sustained after falling on his shoulder during fielding practice.