The Black Caps' biggest luxury and biggest concern were both to the fore on the opening day of the second test against England.

As Tom Latham brought up his 11th test century at Hamilton's Seddon Park, fellow opener Jeet Raval sat watching on in the pavilion, having departed for five to continue a barren run.

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Currently, the Black Caps have the curious dichotomy of possessing one of the greatest test openers in their history, as well as one who is horribly out of touch.

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While Latham was on his way to becoming the first New Zealander to score five test centuries in his last 10 innings, Raval added to a slump which has seen him fail to pass 33 in his last nine first-class innings.

With no obvious openers knocking down the door in domestic cricket, nor another realistic option in the squad, the Black Caps will stick with Raval in Australia, but there will be serious concerns about how he will fare against their fearsome seam attack.

Jeet Raval was left kicking himself. Photo / Photosport
Jeet Raval was left kicking himself. Photo / Photosport

Fortunately, Latham is in the form of his life, and his unbeaten 101 was the highlight of a first day which was cut short by rain three balls after tea, with the Black Caps at 173-3 after being sent into bat.

A partnership of 116 with Ross Taylor (53) anchored the day, while Chris Woakes was the best bowler on show with a pair of scalps, including the prized wicket of Kane Williamson for just four.

Woakes thought he had Latham out twice – once on 49, when Latham successfully reviewed an lbw dismissal, and then on 79, when Woakes' review of an lbw shout received the same result – the ball pitching just outside leg.

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Latham was dropped on 66 by Ben Stokes at second slip off Jofra Archer's bowling, but that was the only chance offered in a composed knock.

Over half of his runs came behind mid-wicket, being especially prolific flicking anything that strayed onto the pads, and he drove Joe Root down the ground for four before lunch to raise his bat yet again.

New Zealand opening batsman Tom Latham celebrates his century. Photo / Photosport
New Zealand opening batsman Tom Latham celebrates his century. Photo / Photosport

He had help from Taylor, who received a curious life on 25 by a mystery spike on a review of an lbw dismissal, before producing his trademark cuts, chops and slaps through point to pass 50 for the 50th time in tests.

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His stay lasted the following ball however, with an ungainly swipe at Woakes giving Root his third catch of the day. The second grab was his best – diving low to his right to remove Williamson, while Raval's shot was also unnecessary, flaying a bat outside off stump and departing to Stuart Broad.

Chris Woakes celebrates the wicket of Kane Williamson. Photo / Photosport
Chris Woakes celebrates the wicket of Kane Williamson. Photo / Photosport

There was a touch of outswing in those deliveries, but that was as much movement as England could muster from the pitch. While there was enough to keep the batsmen honest – Archer bowled well without reward – the Black Caps middle order will have reason to be optimistic when they resume on day two.

So too, will Latham. His last five centuries (154, 161, 176, 264* and 177) tell the story - a man for a substantial score, ready for a substantial day tomorrow.