Nicholls ton sees New Zealand declare 369 ahead


Auckland (AFP)

New Zealand declared at 427 for eight, an imposing 369 runs ahead of England after a patient Henry Nicholls posted a valuable 145 on day four of the first Test in Auckland on Sunday.

It was Nicholls' highest Test score, eclipsing his only other century when he scored 118 against South Africa a year ago.

There are 148 overs remaining for England to bat through if they are to escape with a draw after their paltry 58 in the first innings of the rain affected Test.

The left-handed Nicholls batted for 410 minutes and faced 268 balls to join captain Kane Williamson (102) in laying the foundations for the comprehensive New Zealand lead.

Only 25 overs were possible on days two and three because of rain but fine weather is forecast for the remainder of the Test.

New Zealand resumed Sunday at 233 for four and added 194 before declaring with Nicholls losing four partners along the way.

BJ Watling progressed from his overnight 18 to 31 before he was caught behind off Stuart Broad who also bowled Todd Astle for 18.

Colin de Grandhomme was caught behind off Craig Overton after scoring a quick 29 and Tim Southee was caught and bowled by Joe Root for 25.

A vociferous appeal for caught behind from Chris Woakes when de Grandhomme was on 18 was turned down and to England's misfortune they had no reviews left while replays suggested there was a faint edge.

The unlucky Woakes had earlier been denied the run-out of Williamson for 64 on the first day of the Test when television replays could not confirm the ball had brushed his hand on the way to the stumps.

Bowling for England, Broad took three for 78 and James Anderson took three for 87.