By Greg Stutchbury
AUCKLAND (Reuters) - Cricketers reaching their maiden test centuries have exhibited all sorts of outpouring of emotion and relief when they finally brought up the milestone.
Exuberant leaps into the air, kissing of the national crest on the helmet, extended hugs with team mates, belligerent waving of the bat at opposing fans, and on some occasions in the general direction of the media box.
Not so New Zealand's Peter Fulton, who on Friday in the series-deciding third test against England simply raised his arms, took his helmet off, spoke briefly to batting partner Kane Williamson then proceeded to set about building on the score.
"A mixture of excitement and relief is a good way of putting it," a downbeat Fulton told reporters at the conclusion of the first day at Eden Park when his unbeaten 124 had helped his side to a impressive 250 for one.
"If I'm being honest I probably wondered at the start of this season if I'd get another chance to try and get a test hundred.
"(So) I've just tried ...to enjoy my cricket and be nice and positive and take it as it comes and not get too caught up in what's happened in the past and disappointments I've had along the way."
Disappointments have dogged Fulton's career.
As a top-order batsmen in his previous incarnations in the test side, Fulton had scored 314 runs in 16 innings at an average of 20.93 and a high score of 75.
However, he had been discarded in 2009 and played first class cricket, revamping his mental approach to the game and transitioning into a highly effective opener for Canterbury.
It was that transition that helped him come back into the focus for new coach Mike Hesson, who selected him for the test tour of South Africa earlier this year.
Fulton was forced home with a knee injury prior to the 2-0 series drubbing at the hands of the Proteas but recalled by Hesson for the series against England.
"Once you've been in and out of the team a few times you get to that stage where you might have had your last chance," Fulton said of his desire to get back into the international fold.
"I think I knew I was good enough, but at the back of my mind was always that thing of 'if I don't get another chance, I'm not going to be able to prove that I am good enough.
"Thankfully that wasn't the case."
The right hander, nicknamed "Two-Metre Peter" despite standing just 1.98 metres tall (6-foot-6), scored 55 in the first innings in the first test in Dunedin and 45 in the second innings of the second test in Wellington.
Fulton, however, admonished himself in Wellington for failing to push on, and told reporters on Friday that ensuring he got a big score was on his mind from about the point he entered the 30s.
"After the last game I'd got a couple of starts but not been able to go on and get a big score so that was at the back of my mind. Once I got to 30 or 40 I had to try and get a really big score and make it count.
"Yeah, I'm over the moon about it, but it's one innings and hopefully there's more to come."
(Editing by Patrick Johnston)