Nicholls relieved to finally reach maiden hundred

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Henry Nicholls spoke of his relief at finally making a Test-match hundred against South Africa on Thursday after missing out in New Zealand's recent clash with Bangladesh.

The 25-year-old anchored the Black Caps' first innings in Wellington on day one of the second Test, his vital 118 helping them mount a recovery to 268 all out having been 21-3.

It was a first century for Nicholls and quickly made up for his disappointment against Bangladesh in January, the batsman having made 98 in Christchurch before playing a rash stroke.

He had no problems this time, though, as he hooked a short ball from Kagiso Rabada to the square-leg boundary in the 67th over of the day.

"I told myself if I get to that situation again I won't do that [play a rash shot]," he said.

"It was probably a bit of a relief really.

"It was nice to get through that milestone and contribute to the team total. I had a bit of luck in the nineties but that's the way it goes but I was pretty happy with how I went about my business."

He added: "I guess I always look to be positive and be really decisive in my decision-making. Today more so than I have been in the past.

"The message from Hess [coach Mike Hesson] was to be really confident in my game and that's something I'm looking to do on a consistent basis."

New Zealand finished the day on a high as Tim Southee and Colin de Grandhomme took a wicket apiece before the close to leave the Proteas 24-2.