New Zealand defy England bowlers after Ben Stokes enforces follow-on in Wellington

Hosts reach 202-3 in second innings after being bowled out for 209

Tom Latham, right, and Devon Conway starred in a century stand for New Zealand against England in the second Test on Sunday, February 26, 2023. AP
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England's dominance of New Zealand stalled on day three of the second Test in Wellington on Sunday as the hosts batted with defiance after being asked to follow on by visiting captain Ben Stokes.

Bowled out for 209 in the morning, New Zealand were 202-3 at stumps in their second innings at the Basin Reserve on the back of a 149-run opening stand by Devon Conway and Tom Latham.

The Black Caps need only 24 runs to make England bat again, and the task falls to number three Kane Williamson (25 not out) and number five Henry Nicholls (23 not out) to return on Monday and help set England a proper fourth innings chase.

It was a boost for most fans in the sold-out home crowd following two days of English domination in this Test after defeat in the series-opener in Mount Maunganui.

For all that, Stokes's team remain ahead of the game, even if their lead was pegged back considerably after a full day of toil in the field.

England assistant coach Paul Collingwood defended Stokes's decision to enforce the follow-on.

"We're in a good position still," he said. "The skipper wasn't thinking of not enforcing, just taking the positive approach and trying to win it today.

"Hard toil, but this wicket has done plenty in the morning session."

Two wickets to spinner Jack Leach and one to Joe Root in the Black Caps' second innings revived England after their pace attack was thwarted by half-centuries to Conway and Latham.

Leach made the breakthrough by removing Conway for 61, the ball finding an outside edge that careened off the opener's pad over to short leg where the athletic Ollie Pope dived forward for the catch.

The wicket shifted the momentum back to England, with New Zealand losing 3-18 in a hurry.

Latham, who brought up his 5,000th Test run in his innings, was soon out lbw for 83 trying to sweep part-time spinner Joe Root.

Updated: February 26, 2023, 11:29 AM