England need 263 more runs to beat New Zealand in the second Test and clinch the series after reaching 36-1 at lunch on a dramatic final day at Trent Bridge.
Zak Crawley fell for a duck at the start of England’s bid to chase down 299.
But Alex Lees’s brisk 30 not out kept England in the hunt, while first-innings centurion Ollie Pope was unbeaten on six.
In-form Daryl Mitchell earlier made 62 not out as New Zealand were dismissed for 284 after resuming on 224-7.
Mitchell, on 32 overnight, and Trent Boult put on 35 for the last wicket to leave the match delicately balanced.
All four results are still possible with a minimum of 63 overs left, but a win for Ben Stokes’ team requires the highest successful Test run chase at Trent Bridge.
The existing record is England’s 284-6 against New Zealand in 2004.
Test world champions New Zealand are painfully aware that England have already knocked off the 277 required to beat them in the final innings of the first Test at Lord’s.
England must score at above four an over to win, although New Zealand will be without the services of injured pace bowler Kyle Jamieson.
The home side are aiming for a first Test series victory since January 2021 as Stokes and new coach Brendon McCullum look to start their reign in style after a gloomy period for the national team.
A dramatic collapse in the evening session on day four had left New Zealand with a precarious lead of 238, giving England unexpected hope of a memorable success.
England’s Ben Foakes had claimed any total under 300 would be a realistic score to chase, while New Zealand’s Devon Conway was confident his side would triumph if they built a lead of 280.
Both teams will still believe victory is in their grasp with two sessions remaining.
- Pivotal battle -
England looked heavy underdogs when New Zealand posted 553 in their first innings, but their impressive fightback had convinced fans to take advantage of free admission to create a boisterous crowd.
Matt Henry responded to the raucous fans by punching Stokes to the boundary, prompting the England captain to send down a menacing bouncer that left Henry sprawled on the pitch after taking evasive action.
A grin plastered on his face after that near-miss, Henry quickly unleashed another four, but Stokes again turned to the short ball in a pivotal battle.
Dropping short proved the correct tactic as Henry looked to fend one off his ribs from Stuart Broad, but could only nick it to Foakes for the crucial breakthrough.
Jamieson perished when his attempted pull off Broad took a thin edge and Foakes dived to his right to make a good catch.
Trent Boult became the highest-scoring number 11 in Test history, moving past Muttiah Muralitharan’s 623 runs.
Mitchell, who scored an imperious 190 in the first innings, crunched a pair of boundaries to reach his half-century.
Boult followed suit with some lusty blows off Stokes, leaving the skipper shaking his head in frustration.
England finally took the new ball and James Anderson dismissed Boult for 17 to set up the thrilling finale.
Lees opened the chase in blistering fashion as he smashed three of Tim Southee’s first four balls to the boundary.
It was quite a statement of intent, but New Zealand were unfazed.
Boult hit back to remove Crawley in the next over, the paceman inducing a low catch to Southee in the slips.