The New Zealand pace attack bowled with great discipline as England crawled to 160 for four on a tense and absorbing opening day of the first Test at Lord's on Thursday.
No England batsman reached 40 and no partnership realised more than 45, the hosts adopting an ultra-cautious approach after winning the toss on the first day of the two-match series.
Jonathan Trott top-scored for England with 39, Alastair Cook made 32 and Ian Bell 31, but no batsman mastered a very slow pitch in bright and sunny conditions at the home of cricket.
Joe Root, on 25, and Jonny Bairstow, three, were the not out batsmen when rain ended the day's play 10 overs early.
England, outplayed in the recent 0-0 series draw in New Zealand, lost Nick Compton for 16 in the morning session as the touring side's pace bowlers Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Neil Wagner gave little away.
Compton became frustrated and, trying to hit spinner Bruce Martin over the top, he sliced a catch to Southee in the covers.
Only three fours were hit in the morning session and England survived another chance when Martin dropped Trott off his own bowling before the hosts limped to lunch at 56 for one.
Cook, captaining England for the first time in a Test at the home of cricket, survived a huge shout for lbw off Boult when he had made 30, New Zealand calling for a review after umpire Aleem Dar rejected their appeal.
Two runs later, however, Cook's 115-ball innings ended when he misjudged a seaming delivery from Boult and wicketkeeper BJ Watling snapped up a sharp catch.
Trott struck six well-timed fours but he was undone just before tea by the fifth delivery of Boult's third spell which moved sharply off the pitch.
The right-hander misjudged the line and edged the ball to third slip where Dean Brownlie swooped to take a fine low catch.
England resumed after the interval on 113 for three and Ian Bell and Joe Root continued to struggle to disrupt the accurate New Zealand attack supported by sharp fielding.
Bell played a couple of sumptuous drives through the covers but he nibbled at a wide ball from Wagner and gave Watling a simple catch.
The 22-year-old Root, in prime form this season with 646 runs, rarely looked in trouble, moving on to 25 off 72 balls before rain caused play to be abandoned.
Boult was the pick of the New Zealand bowlers with figures of two for 29 from 17 overs.
England selected Steven Finn as their third fast bowler in preference to Tim Bresnan. New Zealand opted for Martin in their four-pronged attack instead of paceman Doug Bracewell.
England (1st innings):
A. Cook c Watling b Boult 32
N. Compton c Southee b Martin 16
J. Trott c Brownlie b Boult 39
I. Bell c Watling b Wagner 31
J. Root not out 25
J. Bairstow not out 3
Extras: (b-1, lb-7, w-1, nb-5) 14
Total: (for four wickets, 80 overs) 160
Fall of wickets: 1-56, 2-67, 3-112, 4-157
To bat: M.Prior, S.Broad, G.Swann, S.Finn, J.Anderson.
Bowling: Boult 17-7-29-2 (2nb), Southee 16-5-32-0, Wagner 20-6-46-1 (2nb 1w), Martin 24-11-37-1 (1nb), Williamson 3-1-8-0.
New Zealand: P. Fulton, H. Rutherford, K. Williamson, R. Taylor, D. Brownlie, B. McCullum (captain), B. Watling, T. Southee, B. Martin, N. Wagner, T. Boult.
England won the toss and elected to bat.
Image: Trent Boult of New Zealand in action during day one of 1st Investec Test match between England and New Zealand at Lord's
Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images