New Zealand's batting snuffed out any temptation to wallow in complacency as they took an axeman's grip on the country's maiden day-night test.

Captain Kane Williamson led the way with 91 from 177 balls. He numbed England with patience under Eden Park's floodlights.

The No.3 could break the deadlock tomorrow between himself, Ross Taylor and the late Martin Crowe as the first New Zealander to reach 18 test centuries.

Read more: The best day in NZ test cricket history?

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Such a milestone would be the next step in a test career that began as the eighth Kiwi to make a century on debut with 131 on November 7, 2010 against India in Ahmedabad.

He has brought metronomic consistency since, with tons against every country that has played the longest format.

However, there was a glitch at the start of the 43rd over with the hosts 101 for two.

Taylor thumped a straight drive off Chris Woakes. The bowler claimed to get a touch with his right hand as the ball hit the stumps. Williamson was caught short of his ground backing up.

A stand-off emerged between England on one side of the pitch, pleading Woakes case, and Williamson and Taylor on the other, as the case was deferred to official channels.

The third umpire was summoned, but television replays were inconclusive. Head shaking ensued in the England camp as the benefit of doubt prevailed. The New Zealand captain added 27 unbeaten runs in the aftermath.

"He got a finger on it," England coach Trevor Bayliss said. "Everyone who knows Woakesy knows he's not a bloke who would try to cheat a bloke out.

"I would've liked to have seen us appeal a bit harder."

Williamson provided his usual fastidiousness at the crease, brushing the surface area clean with his bat and marking his guard with the zeal of a shopkeeper opening for business.

Once his staple clip through mid-wicket came into regular use, the chances of success rose exponentially.

The days preparing against the New Zealand attack under the Bay Oval lights in his home town of Mt Maunganui came to fruition.

In the build-up, Williamson said he appreciated the change of seam from green-and-white in their first day-night test against Australia at Adelaide in 2015 to the incumbent black because it was easier to identify. ​

Williamson could have picked the ball out of a line-up on the opening day.