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England rocked as Southee strike leads New Zealand comeback

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Mount Maunganui (New Zealand) (AFP)

Tim Southee led a New Zealand comeback with a triple strike, which included denying Ben Stokes a century, as England lost four wickets in the morning session on day two of the opening Test on Friday.

After resuming the day at 241 for four, England were 329 for eight at lunch in Mount Maunganui.

With the Bay Oval wicket starting to assist the bowlers, Southee was sitting on a hat-trick at one stage as New Zealand ripped through the middle order with the four wickets taken in 20 deliveries.

Stokes and overnight partner Ollie Pope had started the day confidently with Stokes progressing from his overnight 67 to 91, toying with the New Zealand attack as he constantly adjusted his stance and moved around on the crease to keep the bowlers from finding a regular line.

But as he entered the nineties, Stokes' attempt to charge at Southee was edged to Ross Taylor who took a stunning one-handed catch diving to his right.

The star England all-rounder had added 24 to his total since he was dropped by Taylor just before stumps the previous day.

Southee produced a similar delivery, moving across the batsman, to have Pope caught behind on 29 in his following over and trapped Sam Curran leg before wicket with the next delivery.

Jofra Archer survived the hat-trick ball but his stay at the crease was brief.

In the following over, he was on the board with a four off Trent Boult and headed back to the pavilion after the next delivery when he was caught by Southee at second slip.

England had gone from 277 for four to 295 for eight in little more than three overs.

Jos Buttler was on 29 at the end of the session with Jack Leach on 12.

For New Zealand, Southee has four for 74.

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