Peter Fulton’s first Test century and Kane Williamson’s 83 lifted New Zealand to 250-1 against England on day one of their cricket series decider in Auckland.
Fulton’s unbeaten 124, which came at the ground where he made his Test debut seven years ago, surpassed his previous best score of 75. The 34-year-old right-hander shared an unbroken 171-run partnership with Williamson after Hamish Rutherford got out nine balls before the lunch interval for 37.
Fulton and Williamson batted through the next two sessions to give New Zealand a platform for a large total after being sent in to bat as it seeks a first Test series win against England in 14 years.
England captain Alastair Cook, who took a catch at first slip off Steve Finn’s bowling to dismiss Rutherford, won the toss and opted to give his bowlers first use of the pitch at Eden Park, which was lowered into place last weekend just hours after a rugby league match finished.
Nicknamed “Two-Meter Peter,” the 6-foot-6 Fulton batted the entire day, scoring 15 fours and three sixes in his 277-ball innings. Williamson, 22, was 17 runs short of his fourth century in elite five-day matches at the close of play.
England made one change to the team that took the field for the first two matches, which ended in rain-affected draws, as Jonny Bairstow replaced injured batsman Kevin Pietersen.
New Zealand, which was unchanged, has only beaten England once before in a home Test series when it won a best-of-three contest 1-0 in 1984.
To contact the reporter on this story: Dan Baynes in Sydney at firstname.lastname@example.org