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Slow going as Trott departs
Kevin Pietersen made his first significant contribution of England's tour in a lunchtime total of 353 for five on day two of the second Test against New Zealand at the Basin Reserve.
Pietersen's 112-ball half-century was the slowest of the innings, following Jonathan Trott and Nick Compton's studied progress to twin hundreds yesterday.
After a previous highest score of 14 from four innings on this trip, including in the tour match in Queenstown, he helped England through an awkward morning.
Left-arm spinner Bruce Martin was responsible for two wickets - after Trott had gone to the first ball he faced, from Trent Boult, without addition to his overnight 121.
Trott was caught behind when the left-armer slanted one across him and found a thin edge. Thereafter, Pietersen (68no) and Ian Bell were mostly watchful and occasionally unconvincing through the first hour.
With a rainy forecast still in place for the final two days here, there was an obvious temptation for England to try to press on in this middle match of three - with the series level at 0-0 after a Dunedin stalemate last week.
Pietersen gave an indication of his intent when he greeted the introduction of Martin by going up the wicket and hitting him for six over long-on first ball.
Bell, however, could never get going - apart from two trademark cover-driven fours - and managed only 11 from 46 balls before he revisited the most infamous aberration of his international career. His attempt to hit Martin over the top resulted in a skewed drive high to wide mid-off - an uncanny repeat of his golden duck at the hands of Pragyan Ojha in Ahmedabad four months ago - and Peter Fulton made Bell pay again with a fine catch.
Pietersen had already survived a caught-behind chance, mishooking Tim Southee over the head and through the gloves of BJ Watling on 40, before completing his 50 when he forced Martin off the back foot for just his fourth boundary.
But Joe Root soon fell to the spinner, caught behind trying to drive a wide ball that turned and bounced a little. England's 86 for three from 30 overs in the session was short of general expectations, but reward too for an improved display from the home attack on this benign surface.