WELLINGTON: James Anderson confirmed his rise to number one in the world Test bowling rankings with a lethal opening spell as England took complete control of the second Test against New Zealand on Saturday.
Veteran seamer Anderson snared 3-37 as the Black Caps slumped to 138-7 when rain forced an early end to day two in Wellington after England posted their first innings 435-8.
Spinner Jack Leach also took three scalps, leaving New Zealand staring at a 297-run deficit with three days remaining.
Red-hot England are on course for a two-match series sweep after winning the first Test by 267 runs at Mt Maunganui with the same mix of aggressive batting and powerful new-ball bowling.
Joe Root was unbeaten on 153 when captain Ben Stokes made his assertive statement, leaving the tourists half an hour to attack the Black Caps’ top order before lunch.
Anderson answered the call, removing Devon Conway (0) and Kane Williamson (4) to send the hosts reeling at 12-2.
The tough paceman removed Will Young (2) after the break to highlight why he has been restored to No.1 in the ICC Player Rankings released this week – the oldest player to hold the perch, at 40.
All three batsmen edged master Ben Fuchs, taking Anderson’s Test victims caught by a wicketkeeper to 188 – 36 more than any other bowler.
Left-handers Tom Latham (35) and Henry Nicholls (30) launched a rear guard but both fell when trying to send Leach (3-45) back, offering a catch to the fielders around the bat.
First-Test centurion Tom Blundell reached 25 with his head before play was suspended at 5.45 pm (0445 GMT) and his free-wheeling captain Tim Southee was unbeaten on 23 – in an innings with two sixes.
About 25 laps were lost to late rain, reflecting the early finish on the first day when the clouds opened.
Brooke, Ruth killed New Zealand in Wellington
However, there is still plenty of time for England to push for a seventh consecutive Test win and send New Zealand to an eighth consecutive Test without a win.
Earlier, England lost five wickets and amassed another 120 runs in an entertaining opening session as they went on to post 315-3.
Harry Brook fell in the third over for 186, adding just two to his overnight score.
His blistering knock was part of a 302-run stand with Root – the second-highest in England’s Test history against New Zealand – after rescuing the tourists from 21-3 early on day one.
Root moved effortlessly from 101 overnight to pass 150 for the 14th time in his career.
The 32-year-old received lively support from Stokes – who scored 27 off 28 balls – Stuart Broad (14) and Ollie Robinson (18).
Root hit 10 fours and three sixes, including a reverse ramp shot that cleared the boundary rope off the fourth ball he faced on Saturday, off Southee.
Seamer Matt Henry used Brook’s key, holding onto a sharp chance, to return 4-100.