Millennium Post

Fulton heroics with bat puts New Zealand on top

A maiden century from opening batsman Peter Fulton put New Zealand on track for a big first innings total on day one of the third and deciding Test against England at Eden Park on Friday.

New Zealand were 250 for one at stumps with Fulton unbeaten on 124 and Kane Williamson 83 not out after a frustrating day for England’s bowlers.

England skipper Alastair Cook was punished after winning the toss and making New Zealand bat on a drop-in Auckland wicket that was expected to offer his attack more pace and bounce than the lifeless pitches in Dunedin and Wellington.

Black Caps skipper Brendon McCullum said it was ‘judgement day’ for his batting line-up after they were put in for the first time this series -- and they came through with flying colours.

Eden Park proved another flat track that harboured no demons, allowing them to dominate, with England’s only wicket for the day coming from a rash shot by Hamish Rutherford (37) just before lunch.

While England’s bowlers were tight, sending down 27 maidens through the day, the New Zealanders kept the runs ticking over thanks to the short boundaries at Eden Park, which is normally used as a rugby venue.

Fulton’s century was the highlight, reviving a Test career he feared over before he was recalled for this series after more than three years in the wilderness.

‘I’ve played a few Test matches and now I’ve got one (a century),’ the right-hander said. ‘If I’m being brutally honest, at the start of this season I thought maybe my time had come and gone. But it paid off today.’
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