Kane Williamson posted a New Zealand record 18th century then passed the helm to Henry Nicholls as the Black Caps built a substantial lead over England on a rain-marred day two of the first Test on Friday.

When a downpour sent the players from the field midway through the second session in Auckland, New Zealand were 229 for four, 171 ahead of England and with six wickets in hand.

Williamson fell for 102 soon after the first rain interval, having lifted New Zealand out of an awful start when they were eight for one in the day-night Test.

Nicholls, who resumed the day on 24, had advanced to 49 when rain stopped play for the second time, 68 minutes into the middle session, with BJ Watling on 17.

Williamson reached his milestone century, one more than Ross Taylor and the late Martin Crowe, with a deft single through gully just before the first rain disruption brought an early tea adjournment.

When play resumed more than an hour later, he added only two further runs before being dismissed leg before.

James Anderson, the best of the England bowlers with three for 53, found swing with the second new ball and brought one back into Williamson who was trapped plumb in front of the sticks.

It brought a close to an excellent knock in which Williamson rebuilt the New Zealand innings after they were one for eight in reply to England’s 58.

He faced 220 deliveries to bat New Zealand into a position of dominance with partnerships of 84 with Tom Latham, 31 with Ross Taylor and 83 with Nicholls.

Nicholls, who started the New Zealand summer needing strong performances to cement his place as the number six batsman, stepped up from his pre-Christmas form when he had innings of 67, 13 and five against the West Indies.

After resuming the day on 24, he batted calmly with Williamson and then assumed the anchor role when the captain departed and he was joined by Watling.

Watling, back in the side after being sidelined by a hip injury for several months, wasted no time settling in as he raced to 17 off 20 deliveries, while Nicholls has faced 143 balls for his 49.

Because of the weather disruptions, play has been extended by 30 minutes at the end of the day, conditions permitting.