Opening pair keep England on draw course
Nick Compton's maiden Test century, and Alastair Cook's 24th, made a mockery of England's first-innings failings as they sought to salvage a draw after all at the University Oval.
England's first double-century opening stand for almost four years, and their highest ever against New Zealand, helped them to 234 for one by stumps on day four of the first Test. They still trailed by 59, having conceded a mammoth deficit first time round, but could be increasingly optimistic about closing out a stalemate on the final day thanks to their twin hundreds.
For Compton (102no), grandson of one of England's greatest batsman Denis, the breakthrough innings meant he was upholding an especially famous family tradition. Captain Cook (116) claimed his 23rd century at Kolkata three months ago and was first to three figures again, sweeping his 13th four from his 221st ball off Bruce Martin.
Compton, however, kept his well-wishers waiting until the penultimate over of the day when - with Cook just gone - he at last pushed Tim Southee for a single into the leg-side to reach his milestone in 259 deliveries and approaching six hours.
On Saturday morning England found themselves needing to bat the majority of five-and-a-half sessions to stay level after this first match of three. Compton played and missed several times and survived an optimistic DRS procedure for caught-behind on 16 but was otherwise largely assured for all but the final half hour of the day.
The 29-year-old got himself off a pair with a pushed single from the first ball he faced, also off Southee, and he and Cook barely had a moment of concern thereafter until the protege opener reached the nervous 90s.
A succession of dicey, scrambled singles ensued - Cook just making his ground when called through by Compton on 93 and his partner almost running himself out on 94.
Cook and Compton were determined to set the tone for the much more disciplined performance the tourists so badly needed to that of the first innings. They did so admirably for almost 85 overs, in which Trent Boult in particular strangled the scoring rate but no bowler carried a worrying threat on this reliable pitch.
Finally Cook, with Compton still searching for that precious 100th run, got a thin edge behind off the left-armer to give the Kiwi attack their only success of the day with the score on 231.
Their own batsmen had licence to attack when they continued for 40 minutes on another cool and cloudy morning - a situation which perfectly suited Brendon McCullum (74). From a start-of-play 402 for seven, the Kiwis bagged another 58 runs for two wickets in under nine overs before the declaration came.