It's going to take a mighty effort from the bowlers to push the Black Caps back into a winning position in the second test against England – but that's just what Tim Southee has in mind.

Batting on a sedate Seddon Park wicket today, England added 230 runs for the loss of just three wickets, with a 177-run stand between Rory Burns (101) and Joe Root (114 not out) moving the visitors to within 106 runs of New Zealand's first-innings total of 375, with five wickets in hand.

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With only two days remaining, rain still a possibility, and the pitch showing no signs of suddenly turning into a bowler-friendly wicket, it's hard to plot a path to a New Zealand victory – unless they take a bunch of quick wickets tomorrow morning.

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Sure enough, that's exactly what Southee is hoping he and his fellow bowlers will be able to do.

"If we turn up and take a few early wickets tomorrow then I'd say it's been a pretty good effort from us.

"Our goal is to take the remaining wickets and that starts in the first hour."

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The Black Caps bowlers couldn't be faulted for their efforts today, bowling some reasonably tight lines with minimal assistance from the pitch. Southee was consistent, while Neil Wagner created chances with his diverse array of deliveries, and the pair were both rewarded with wickets late in the day.

Southee believed they were just rewards for a hard day's toil on an unresponsive wicket.

"It was very docile throughout. We just hung in there for long periods of time. Obviously Burns and Root played nicely but that runout opened up an end for us and then we were able to grab a couple more which was handy.

"It's always the way in cricket - if you have a partnership of some time and obviously runs, if you can break it then you can easily go bang–bang as well."

And, considering recent contests between these two teams, Southee is wise not to rule any result out at this stage.

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"If we can pick up a couple of wickets tomorrow - then who knows?"