Another test match, another bag of records, and another challenger vanquished – the Black Caps roll on, and it's going to take a terrific team to halt their record run.
It's now 32 months since the Black Caps last lost a test series, and England won't be the team to end that streak, after the Black Caps wrapped up a storming victory by an innings and 65 runs in Mount Maunganui this afternoon.
The win gives New Zealand an unassailable 1-0 series lead ahead of the series finale in Hamilton on Friday, and continued England's Kiwi drought – having now suffered through six tests without a victory in New Zealand, and not having won a series since 2008.
Also extended is the Black Caps' incredible recent record at home. Of their last 16 tests, the Black Caps have lost just one, and they've won seven of their last nine. Extend their record to include away tests, and it is now seven test series unbeaten – a record streak that will be put to the test against Australia next month.
Based on recent triumphs, only top-tier teams like Australia – or India, who visit early next year - will be able overcome New Zealand's fighting qualities, which were on full display at Bay Oval. Needing to take seven wickets on the final day, on a pitch that looked lifeless 24 hours earlier, the Black Caps' chances dimmed when their frontline seamer Trent Boult exited after just one over, with rib pain which has put him in doubt for the second test.
However, those attributes which had shone through in the partnership between BJ Watling and Mitchell Santner the day before were ever-present, as Colin de Grandhomme and Tim Southee claimed the early inroads and Neil Wagner, as he's done so many times before, finished it off.
These Black Caps have few weak spots, and at the moment, any weaknesses they do possess are swiftly covered up by their wide-ranging strengths. In this test, when their senior top-order struggled, their middle order stood up, and when their usual strike weapon couldn't bowl, his battery mates picked up the slack.
Given an extra workload after Boult's departure, Wagner unsurprisingly had no issues carrying the burden, removing Joe Denly, Ollie Pope and Jos Buttler in the span of four overs to turn what looked a fierce battle into a march to victory.
Denly was sent packing after 142 balls of toil by a short ball that brushed the glove, and Buttler went scoreless for 18 balls before deciding to leave a yorker which crashed into off stump.
An unwise decision, one might offer, but perhaps he was just following the lead of Ollie Pope, whose prayers went unanswered when playing a horrendous shot to a wide 108km/h knuckleball full toss.
He barely reached the ball – at this stage, it's worth remembering that England trailed by 129 runs and had no earthly need to play attacking shots – and ended up slicing it to short cover, where Santner flew to his right, stuck out a paw, and reeled in a sensational catch.
After his day in the sun yesterday, Santner would be fine with his role as today's unsung hero. As his teammates took the early wickets – de Grandhomme removing Joe Root with a short ball which he steered to Tom Latham in the gully, and Southee ending Ben Stokes' 84-ball stay as he chopped on – Santner held up an end, tying down the English batsmen, and being desperately unlucky not to add to his career-best return of 40-19-53-3.
Hands were often on head as England survived until tea, and Jofra Archer and Sam Curran briefly frustrated the Kiwi bowlers with a frisky 59-run partnership. However, Wagner removed Archer, and then a ball later did the same to Stuart Broad – securing a five-wicket bag, and yet another Black Caps test victory.