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Williamson, McCullum tons steer NZ to 329-4 after day 1 of 1st test vs. India

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AUCKLAND, New Zealand - New Zealand's Kane Williamson and Brendon McCullum made centuries in a 221-run partnership which put the hosts in control at 329-4 after Thursday's opening day of the first test against India.

Williamson (113) and McCullum (143 not out) came together with New Zealand in trouble at 30-3 after India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni elected to bowl first on a pitch with a lush covering of grass.

Ishant Sharma and Zaheer Khan shared three early wickets, but Williamson and McCullum stayed together through more than 50 overs to nullify that threat and put New Zealand in command by the end of the first day.

But Williamson and McCullum stayed together through more than 50 overs to nullify that threat and put New Zealand on top the end of the first day.

McCullum batted just over five hours, and will resume on Friday with Corey Williams, who is 42 not out. They had already shared a 78-run partnership as the hosts rode their momentum even after Williamson's dismissal.

McCullum reached his eighth test century and Williamson his fifth in a partnership through which New Zealand scored at more than four runs per over and which steadily sapped the spirit of the Indian bowlers.

Dhoni watched India fritter away its early advantage, with some defensive field settings and inconsistent bowling hampering the tourists.

The skipper did have a hand in ending the partnership, taking the catch down the leg side off the bowling of Zaheer. Williamson showed good sportsmanship by walking before the umpire made a decision, even though it was a very fine edge and he might have received the benefit of the doubt as the Decision Review System is not being used in this series, at India's behest.

Williamson's century came from 138 balls with 12 boundaries and extended a rich vein of form which has brought two centuries and four half centuries in his past six test innings, at an average of 74.5.

"It was pretty tricky early on for the openers and to get through that period, then kick on with a partnership with Brendon and to be at that score at the end of the day was fantastic," Williamson said.

"It's nice to put a score on the board and fortunately I had a partnership with Brendon after losing those early wickets. The most pleasing thing is getting the innings back on track and taking us through to this position with Brendon and Corey both looking really good."

McCullum's innings was had a return to form, having only passed 20 five times in his past 11 test innings.

Sharma was the best of the bowlers, finishing with 2-62. His was the only vexed selection in the Indian match XI because his recent form had been poor and he was pressed for his place by Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Zaheer took 2-98 but he looked rusty after a long layoff.

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