Steven Finn took the only wicket as Peter Fulton (124 not out) and Kane Williamson (83no) carried the hosts to 250 for one in an unbroken stand of 171. That was an especially disappointing outcome for England, in this potentially deciding match with the series score 0-0, after Alastair Cook had chosen to bowl first.
Finn, however, is far from despondent, and he said: "We're only one day into a five-day game, and we've gone at less than three-an-over. We'd have liked to take more wickets, obviously, after winning the toss. But the fact they are only 250 on a wicket that didn't offer us too much, or much at all, was a good effort."
Cook's opposite number Brendon McCullum confirmed on Thursday he too was intending to bowl first if he won the toss, and Finn had no qualms with his own captain's decision.
"There was green grass on the wicket and plenty of it," he said. "But the grass just seems to be holding the wicket together rather than actually offering us assistance with the ball.
"We did expect it to do a little bit more than it did. But after realising it wasn't doing as much, I thought we stuck to our task and our plans well."
England were unable to create any chances as Fulton posted his maiden Test hundred, but Finn is satisfied they did all they could in the circumstances.
"Sometimes you can search for the wickets too much and look too far ahead," he said. "We went past the edge a fair amount today and were a little bit unlucky."
Fulton, meanwhile, belatedly demonstrated his ability to make a big score at the highest level. the tall opener has spent much of the past four years out of contention as a Test batsman.
"To say I was pretty pleased with how that's gone is an understatement," he said. "A mixture of excitement and relief is probably a good way of putting it."
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- Peter Fulton
- Alastair Cook