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Cricket: McCullum, Taylor tons put New Zealand on top

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

New Zealand's Brendon McCullum and Ross Taylor tamed the toothless West Indies attack on the opening day of the first Test on Tuesday, both scoring centuries as the home side reached an imposing 367 for three.

At close of play McCullum was 109 not out off just 122 balls, with Taylor unbeaten on 103. Hamish Rutherford (62) and Peter Fulton (61) earlier chipped in with half centuries on a dispiriting day for the tourists.

New Zealand lost the toss but quickly made the West Indies attack look ordinary despite a green-tinged wicket and cloud cover for much of the day.

The cloud cleared at tea, when New Zealand were 194-3, and in the bright sunshine of the final session Taylor and McCullum produced a ruthless display of power batting to press home their advantage.

New Zealand's senior batsmen added a further 173 runs in the final session, heaping more misery on the tired West Indies attack,ending the day with an unbeaten partnership worth 182.

Captain McCullum, who made no secret of his wish to bowl first, was at his aggressive best, bringing up the 300 with a mighty six when he pulled Shannon Gabriel over square leg.

The innings was a personal boost for McCullum, who has been suffering from a severe back injury that requires him to use painkillers to take the field.

It was his seventh Test century and ended a slump that has affected his game since he notched a personal best of 225 against India three years ago.

Taylor, who brought up his ninth century, had one close encounter when on two, rapped on the gloves trying to fend off a Tino Best delivery, with the ball ballooning just over the outstreched arms of second and third slips.

From there he was more circumspect and his 103 came off 157 deliveries, including 13 fours. McCullum has hit 14 fours and three sixes.

Rutherford and Fulton produced a 95-run opening stand for New Zealand that ended just before lunch when Rutherford was caught one-handed on the boundary by a leaping Narsingh Deonarine off the bowling of Shane Shillingford.

It was an aggressive innings by Rutherford, who had dispatched Shillingford for a six and four in the bowler's previous over.

Fulton was more sedate initially, but scored three fours in quick succession to reach his half-century.

But when he reached 61, a lapse of concentration saw him jab at a Darren Sammy delivery and Kirk Edwards took a regulation catch at second slip.

Aaron Redmond, back in the side after a five-year absence, was the one other wicket to fall. He reached 20 before an attempt to turn Best down the leg side turned into a leading edge claimed by Marlon Samuels in the gully.

Shillingford, allowed to play while waiting for the result of tests on the legality of his bowling action after he was reported by the International Cricket Council, finished the day with figures of one for 88 off 28 overs.

Sammy returned figures of 1-68 and Best, who just failed to reach a caught-and-bowled chance off McCullum late in the day, took 1-87.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/131203/cricket-mccullum-taylor-tons-put-new-zealand-top