They're behind on the scoreboard, in the odds, and in the series, but bowler Stuart Broad believes England have a clear path to victory over the Black Caps.
Ending day two of the second test in Hamilton at 39-2 in response to New Zealand's 375, it will take a mighty effort with the bat for England to find themselves in a position of dominance.
But, as Broad explained in an insightful post-match press conference, that was their plan all along.
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"We won the toss and bowled - not to bowl New Zealand out for 150, we were aiming [to dismiss them] for 330-350 and then bat big once to try and win the game. We thought our best chance to take 20 wickets in five days was by bowling first.
"These pitches, you've got to change your mindset a little bit. If you win the toss and bowl in England and concede 370 you'd be distraught, but here the opportunity is to bat big and bat big once. For us to win this game, we'll need a batter to get 150+, and someone else to get 100, and leave ourselves a day to bowl them out on day five. That's how New Zealand won the last test they played [in Hamilton], when they got -6. So arguably, they're 300 under par," Broad said.
Broad moved past 470 test wickets by snaring four in the first innings, and noted that he had to bowl unconventionally - including bowling from well short of the popping crease to dismiss BJ Watling - to overcome the challenges that the Seddon Park wicket presented.
"We looked at all the wickets that have fallen here in the last two or three test matches, and I think only four were from the length that we practice bowling. You watch the highlights of the wickets, and they're not anyone pushing forward or nicking, it was caught all over the place, really. So you have to try and mix it up a little bit and that's what we did at tea.
"You have to bowl full – if it's a full toss it's not a problem - mix the pace, bowl short, and create a bit of theatre that way. It's not a traditional 'three slips and a gully' place to bowl, you've got to change it up."
Despite being a good pitch for batting, the history of pitches in New Zealand was also the main reason why England decided to bowl first after winning the toss, Broad offered.
"The pitches here just don't seem to deteriorate – we played a really good test match in Christchurch 18 months ago, and we tried everything that last day to get 10 wickets and it just didn't happen for us.
"When you come away from home you look at what the opposition do in their home conditions – and New Zealand bowl. It's pretty rare that they win the toss and bat. It will be proven if it was a good decision tomorrow really – if we bat through the whole of tomorrow and go past New Zealand, we can apply some pressure on them in the second innings. If we don't go and get 400, we can't."
With two youngsters in Zak Crawley and Ollie Pope still to come in the lineup, most of that pressure to score runs will go on England's star pairing of Joe Root and Ben Stokes. But, Broad boldly proclaimed that opener Rory Burns, who has already survived two dropped catches, is the type of player who can apply himself on this wicket.
"He has his areas he can score in, and if he can stay in that bubble and not chase balls outside off stump, he's someone who can go and get 200.
"I think our opportunity is there tomorrow. There's not a huge amount of pressure, there's not a lot happening in the pitch, there's not a big scoreboard pressure – there's a chance for a couple of people to get hundreds tomorrow.
"We need someone to go and get a big hundred for us to win this game – and we've got the players to do it."