Kiwis take early honours

Alastair Cook was made to regret his decision to bowl first as England were put to the sword on day one of the third and final Test against New Zealand today.

The drop-in pitch at Eden Park failed to offer England’s attack anything as the hosts were able to cruise to 250 for 1.

Peter Fulton’s maiden Test ton – at the age of 34 – provided the backbone to the New Zealand innings, while Kane Williamson (83 not out) provided the perfect cameo.

Fulton’s previous best score in 12 Tests had been 75, however he raced past that to reach 124 not out during an unbeaten stand of 171 with Williamson.

The tall opener brought up the milestone off 203 balls, hitting 14 boundaries and three sixes along the way.

He had to survive a nervy tea, though, having reached 95 by the end of the afternoon session.

However while Fulton could celebrate, Cook was left to ponder what could have been after a gamble that the Auckland pitch might be at its most fruitful for his bowlers at the start of the Test failed to pay off.

There was precious little encouragement from the outset for England’s front-line seam attack, †while part-time bowlers Jonathan Trott and Joe Root were brought in, in a bid to find the breakthrough before the introduction of the new ball.

Fulton and Hamish Rutherford had put on 79 with relative ease for the opening wicket before England had a rare moment to celebrate.

Steven Finn finally found the bat edge of Rutherford (37) just before lunch with Cook taking a good catch in the slips. (Sky)

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