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March 25, 2013
It has been an extraordinary few days in the life of Peter Fulton. A maiden Test hundred on Friday, then another century to make it back-to-back tons in the same match on Monday, then being included in a tweet by John Key, New Zealand's Prime Minister.
His post had gone unnoticed by Fulton, until it was mentioned after play. "I'm not on Twitter," he said. "I hadn't heard that. I guess that's one to cross off the list."
In front of his parents, and an increasingly large band of supporters, Fulton wrote himself a place in New Zealand's history books with a crunching straight six off Stuart Broad, to become just the fourth New Zealand batsman - after Glenn Turner, Geoff Howarth and Andrew Jones - to score twin hundreds in a Test. Small boundaries or not, it was a mighty blow with which to reach a landmark.
His second fifty took 41 balls, as the confidence and adrenalin surged through him. Gone was the understandable nervousness of his maiden hundred, during which he sweated on 99 for 10 balls, with his last 36 runs taking 143 balls. The situation had changed, and so did the batsman, which showed that Fulton is not just someone to grind out an innings. An over against Monty Panesar changed the tempo as he took the left-arm spinner for 14 off three deliveries. From then he was unstoppable, until clubbing to long-on for 110.
"I thought if he [Broad] pitches it up, I'm going to try and hit it back over his head," he said. "It's just one of those things, I just wanted to get there and make sure we kept being aggressive. I didn't want to slow down too much looking for a personal milestone."
"The first innings was a bit nervy, and I'd decided when we came out after lunch that I'd just play the same way as I had before, regardless of what score I was on. It made for slightly less of a nerve racking time for myself anyway."
Early on during the onslaught, Matt Prior thought it was a decent time to mention the lack of runs Fulton had scored through the off side - in the first innings he made 107 of his 136 on the leg side, second time around it was a 64-46 split. There were not many words from the England team when he launched a skimming flat six over long-off against James Anderson.
"I guess everyone would like to be able to score to all parts of the ground, but you've got to make do with what you've got," he said. "I can play through the off side, but I guess I've already been out three times trying to play through the off side in the series. It's probably a bit silly to keep trying to flog a dead horse. It was nice once I'd got myself in to play a few through the off side. I'm not really too bothered where they come, or what direction they go in, as long as I get them."
"The situation of the game helped, it's a bit tougher to play like that on day one. You hit one straight up in the air, and you get castigated for it. It was nice to show a few people, who don't watch a lot of domestic cricket, that I can bat like that, and adapt to the situation."
Fulton has helped give the team stability in an area they had floundered for a long time. Hundreds by openers had become a collector's item, and now there are three in a series for only the second time for New Zealand. Fulton's part could so easily have not happened, at the age of 34, especially after a knee injury in South Africa curtailed his first attempt at a comeback late last year. "Hopefully it proves if you keep sticking at it, and you don't lose faith in yourself, then good things can happen."
Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Andrew McGlashan
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