Rory Burns rode his luck en route to a streaky half-century as England’s top order sought to wear down New Zealand’s bowlers on the opening day of the first cricket Test.
The Black Caps neglected to review a caught behind appeal when Burns was on 10, when Hot Spot revealed a faint edge.
The Surrey captain then edged a catch between first and second slip on 37, before bringing up his fifth half-century in an England shirt as this two-Test series began in Mount Maunganui.
Burns was ultimately caught out before tea for 52, and with captain Joe Root failing for two, England reached 121 for three at the short break.
Seamer Colin De Grandhomme gained a fraction of movement through the air as he accounted for both Burns and fellow opener Dom Sibley, who made 22 on debut.
There was little assistance for the rest of New Zealand’s attack, but they were able to keep a tight leash on the tourists, who opted to bat first on a gloriously sunny day at the Bay Oval, which is hosting its first Test.
Sibley, more renowned for his attritional approach, clipped his first ball through midwicket for four before moving more into his comfort zone, facing 21 consecutive dot balls.
Burns was spared early on when Hot Spot detected an edge off Trent Boult but otherwise, there was little cause for alarm as the former Surrey team-mates put on a 52-run opening stand.
All of Sibley’s runs had come between long leg and midwicket. He perished when attempting to drive De Grandhomme to mid-on, with a fraction of movement ensuring the edge was taken as Ross Taylor took the catch at first slip.
Joe Denly required 21 deliveries to get off nought and was involved in a fascinating duel with Neil Wagner, who predictably went short as he bowled a 12-over spell interrupted by the lunch interval.
Both had their moments: on four occasions Denly pulled authoritatively to the boundary, but there was some anxiety as a top edge landed in front of gully, and when Wagner narrowly missed his off-stump.
Stretch the legs as that’s tea on day one. An absolute arm wrestle out there with @englandcricket 121-3 after 56 overs. CDG 2-23 off 16 overs 👏 Wagner has the other wicket.Who do we think is on top 🤔
— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) November 21, 2019
Burns was becoming increasingly ragged. He was struck on the helmet attempting to avoid Wagner’s bouncer, before being reprieved when neither Taylor nor Tom Latham budged in the slips as an edge off Tim Southee went between them.
The opener survived a review for lbw, spared narrowly on height, raised his 50 then departed moments later, with De Grandhomme drawing a loose stroke and BJ Watling completing a simple catch.
Root needed 21 deliveries to get off the mark but fell to his next ball, fishing outside off-stump and edging Wagner to Southee at second slip.
Denly was on 41 at tea after an afternoon session in which only 60 runs were added off 27 overs.