The first Test at Lord's is shaping into a thriller.
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LONDON (AFP): Tim Southee bowled New Zealand back into contention in the first Test against England with a dramatic burst late on the third day at Lord's on Saturday.
At stumps, England were 180 for six in their second innings -- a lead of 205 runs.
England were in the process of building a sound position at 159 for two when paceman Southee wrested back the initiative with three wickets for four runs in 17 balls.
In all, England lost four wickets for 12 runs to throw the first of this two-Test series wide open, although their lead was now almost as much as New Zealand's meagre first innings 207.
Jonathan Trott (56) and Joe Root (71) shared a third-wicket stand of 123 before the latter's exit sparked England's slump.
They had steadied the ship after England captain Alastair Cook, caught in the slips off Trent Boult and fellow opener Nick Compton, bowled by Neil Wagner, had both fallen with the total on 36.
Shortly after tea, Root was nearly run out when he dabbed the ball onto the offside and set off for a single.
Trott, however, wasn't interested and Root, from half-way down the pitch, had to turn back.
A direct hit by New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum would have seen the Yorkshireman run out but the diving Root just did enough as wicket-keeper BJ Watling tried to make the best of a bad return with a despairing effort of his own.
Watling injured his knee in the process and was replaced behind the stumps by McCullum, who had given up keeping in Tests because of knee and back problems.
Root, in only his fifth Test and first in England, punched Wagner through the covers for four to complete a 78-ball fifty featuring six boundaries.
But in sight of beating the Test-best 73 he made against India on debut in Nagpur in December, the 22-year-old, promoted up the order because Ian Bell was suffering with flu, inside edged Southee on to his stumps.
Root's Yorkshire colleague Jonny Bairstow, top-scorer in England's first innings with 41, was then yorked off his foot by Southee for five.
Matt Prior, so often England's saviour with the bat, completed a pair when he pulled Southee straight to square leg before Trott's painstaking innings ended when he was bowled by a sharply turning off-break from part-time spinner Kane Williamson.
Southee had close figures of three for 34 in 14 overs.
Nightwatchman Steven Finn was six not out and Ian Bell nought not out at stumps.
Before lunch, England dismissed New Zealand for 207 in reply to their first innings 232 -- a lead of 25 runs.
James Anderson, who on Friday had become only the fourth England bowler to take 300 Test wickets, finished with five wickets for 47 runs in 24 overs.
It was the 30-year-old Lancashire swing bowler's 13th five-wicket or better innings return in an 81 Test-career that started at Lord's a decade ago.
Having taken three wickets on Friday, including that of New Zealand top scorer Ross Taylor (66), Anderson returned Saturday figures of two for 15 in nine overs.
He was well supported by Finn (four for 63) although it was Stuart Broad, the third member of England's seam trio, who had dangerman McCullum caught behind for two
Williamson, 44 not out overnight, marked his first Test in England with 60 before he was caught behind off Anderson.