A maiden century from Peter Fulton helped New Zealand race to 250-1 on first day.
After winning the toss at the start of the third Test in Auckland England captain Alastair Cook decided the only way to win the match was to put New Zealand into bat.
Kiwi skipper Brendon McCullum would have taken the same decision if he had won the toss but he will be glad he didn’t, as the drop-in pitch at Eden Park clearly turned out to be batting friendly.
England managed just one wicket on the first day as the hosts took advantage of the short boundaries and hit the visiting bowlers around the park.
The only New Zealand victim was opener Hamish Rutherford, who Steven Finn claimed as the batsman was caught at first slip by Cook.
Peter Fulton and Kane Williamson then put on 171 runs for the Black Caps before close of play, as the 34-year-old Fulton scored his maiden century in Test cricket at the fourteenth time of asking.
The opener’s unbeaten 124 included 15 fours and three sixes.
Fulton rode his luck at times as James Anderson found an edge when the batsman misjudged the flight of the ball, but the catch just evaded Joe Root at third slip.
Stuart Broad surprised the Kiwi but his sliced shot, which would normally have found its way to fine-leg, flew into the stands for six due to the short boundaries.
Williamson finished the day on 83 not-out as New Zealand punished the England bowlers on a very flat pitch, with spinner Monty Panesar being hit for 14 runs off one over.
The tourists now will have their work cut out on day two as wickets will be a must for Cook’s side if they want any chance of winning this deciding Test.