After the first two Tests were drawn in Dunedin and Wellington with each side taking a moral victory in a match each, but now the third and final Test is underway at Eden Park with the victor to come away with a 1-0 series win.
And after the first day, New Zealand is in prime position to take advantage of a dominant start at 1-250 with Peter Fulton not out on 124 and Kane Williamson on 83. The only wicket to fall was Hamish Rutherford for 37 when he was caught by Alastair Cook off Steve Finn with the score 1-79.
Making the Black Caps' opening day all the more the remarkable is the fact that England captain Cook actually won the toss and sent the home side in.
There was a hint of green to the pitch in the morning, but virtually as soon as Fulton and Rutherford faced the first ball of the day Cook must have been having second thoughts.
His seamers try as they might, found no movement in the air and precious little help from the wicket, and by the end of the day Fulton and Williamson were simply doing as they pleased.
Fulton has made the most of his recall to the New Zealand Test team. In 12 matches previously, the now 34-year-old had scored just 415 runs with a highest score of 75 and a poor average of 23.
He put that record aside and showed more of the form that has seen him average over 42 in first-class cricket with 12 centuries.
The Christchurch-native went on to cruise to his first Test century and having proven before with a 301 not out in first-class cricket that he can bat for a long time, he will be looking to make the most of getting to triple figures for the first time in a Test for his country.
Williamson meanwhile is on target for his fourth century in his 23rd Test for his country with the 22-year-old needing just 17 more runs on Saturday morning to get there.
Toil as they might, James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Monty Panesar had a fruitless first day for England with Finn the only wicket-taker.