New Zealand v England: Matt Prior upbeat after late wickets

Matt Prior drives through the off side in his 99-ball 82
Matt Prior drives through the off side in his 99-ball 82

Wicketkeeper Matt Prior says the removal of three New Zealand batsmen late on day two has put England in charge of the second Test.

Peter Fulton, Hamish Rutherford and Ross Taylor fell to leave the hosts 66-3 in reply to England's 465.

"It ended up a pretty good day for us," Prior, who scored 82, told BBC Sport.

"Those late wickets swung it in our favour but it's very important we come in hard [on day three] and try to force the advantage we have."

Resuming on 267-2, England slid to 325-5 but were hauled to an imposing total by Kevin Pietersen's 73 and Prior's 99-ball knock.

The Sussex gloveman added 83 for the eighth wicket with Steven Finn, who followed up his maiden fifty in the first Test in Dunedin with a steady 24.

"When I first came in it was time to buckle in a little bit," added Prior. "We wanted to make sure we batted long and make sure we got a very good score on the board, which we ended up doing.

"It's nice to score some runs but more important to me was the contribution Finn made again.

"He has put in a huge amount of work with [head coach] Andy Flower and [batting coach] Graham Gooch and, seeing what he did in the last Test and then again today in that partnership, it's outstanding."

England were all out on the stroke of tea, giving them 33 overs in which to make inroads in the New Zealand batting.

"That session was a nice amount of overs for us," said Prior. "Our quick bowlers could have short fiery spells and Monty Panesar could get in a bit of rhythm.

"The day panned out brilliantly for us. We are in a very good position."

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