New Zealand 250-1 (Fulton 124no) v England
Third Test, Auckland, day one
Report by John Pennington
Peter Fulton became the third batsman in the series to score their maiden Test century as New Zealand dominated the opening day of the third and final game against England in Auckland.
Fulton was unbeaten on 124 as the home side piled up 250 for one having been asked to bat first by England captain Alastair Cook.
Fulton shared in a 79-run opening partnership with Hamish Rutherford, who made 37, before Kane Williamson's 83 not out helped him add 171 runs for the second wicket.
With the series all square at 0-0 following two rain-affected draws in Dunedin and Wellington, England felt that with some life in the pitch they could make inroads, but were unable to do so.
Brendon McCullum said he would have bowled first had he won the toss, making this perhaps a good one to lose.
Rutherford looked comfortable, driving sweetly right from the start, but he perished when he was caught by Cook off Steven Finn, slashing hard outside off stump just prior to lunch, but there was no shifting Fulton, whose 124 came from 277 balls, including 15 fours and three sixes.
Fulton was put under some early pressure by Anderson, with leg-side boundaries and one sublime on drive interspersed with edges that also brought runs while Rutherford had the grill of his helmet hit by the same bowler as he tried to sway away from a delivery that bounced and followed him.
Fulton hooked Broad into the stands for a maximum and the introduction of Monty Panesar gave Rutherford the opportunity to clear the ropes, which he did twice in the left-arm spinner's first over.
They went to lunch on 79 for one and soon after Fulton reached his half-century with an on drive off Finn and Williamson was quickly into his stride, angling a couple of boundaries to third man and easing one through mid off as it quickly became apparent that the balance was firmly in favour of the batsmen.
Fulton launched Panesar into the stands over midwicket and Williamson timed another boundary straight down the ground off Broad, hardly appearing to hit the ball at all, while Fulton bludgeoned his way to more boundaries, standing tall and dismissing the ball from his presence with real authority.
New Zealand reached tea at 173 for one having utterly pummelled England in the middle session of the day; regardless of what Panesar tried, Fulton was equal to it, and he ended the day having conceded 70 runs in 25 overs. Fulton went to his hundred after the break, clipping Panesar into the on side.
It had come from 203 balls and easily eclipsed his previous best of 75. Meanwhile, Williamson was growing in confidence, racing to his half-century by taking on the short ball with precise aplomb.
Frustration for England grew, and fumbles in the outfield personifised their day. Little they tried had worked, and in the early part of the day, they certainly did not bowl badly. Predictably Fulton and Williamson tucked in when part-timers Jonathan Trott and Joe Root were brought on ahead of the new ball being taken late on.
There was a little swing for England's bowlers, but New Zealand remained in complete control, WIlliamson's 83 occupying 186 deliveries and he hit 13 fours.
New Zealand were unchanged from the team that played in Wellington, meaning Doug Bracewell was left out having been added to the squad.
England replaced the injured Kevin Pietersen with Jonathan Bairstow.
© Cricket World 2013
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