What followed was a period of nearly comatose batting - very rare for this England side - as they were tied down by de Grandhomme, Sodhi and the surface.
Colin de Grandhomme exploited conditions with a miserly 10-over spell while the recalled Ish Sodhi claimed 3 for 53, striking twice in quick succession with the wickets of Stokes and Jos Buttler as England tried to push on in the final 10 overs.
Nothing, it seems, can keep Stokes out of the limelight on his return to the England team after a winter of discontent and nothing was going to stop him making another decisive contribution yesterday when it was most needed.
Rashid broke through in his second over, a googly encouraging Munro to chip towards cover where Ben Stokes sprang to his left to hold a superb mid-air catch.
Just when one thought that the Kiwis were down and out, Mitch Santner and Williamson added another 96 runs for the 7th wicket to bring them back in the game. After five failed attempts, majority involving plenty of heartache, they all but succumbed to a sixth thanks to a wonderful century from Kane Williamson, which reignited New Zealand's run-chase after their middle order had collapsed to Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali. A skittish Mark Chapman played a poor stroke to find point and Tom Latham was lbw first ball after England correctly called for a review. "He's a bit of an unsung hero for us with bat and ball". All of England's batsmen had got starts but only Morgan looked comfortable on the drop-in pitch that appeared to be two-paced and providing inconsistent bounce as he top-scored with 48 and shared a 71-run partnership with Stokes.More news: Rams trading pass-rusher Robert Quinn to Dolphins
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Buttler got his 29 off just 23 balls and in comparison with the run rate over the day, it was a furious pace.
"And credit to the way the English spinners bowled through the middle".
Stokes, such an irresistible all-round force in England's victory on Wednesday, found himself with a much tougher proposition here and was twice struck while having to also twice sway away from balls that bounced alarmingly.
Yet, frustratingly for England, after giving himself a platform for a late assault, Stokes holed out to the longest boundary of this small playing surface when he opened up his arms virtually for the first time.
New Zealand, on the other hand, would be hoping for the captain Williamson to regain his fitness.
But Woakes, who turned a Williamson drive on to the non-striker's stumps to run out Santner with 36 runs required, bowled an excellent wide yorker that Williamson was unable to connect with as England moved 2-1 up in the five-match series with their first win in an ODI at the Westpac Stadium. With it the momentum changed.