Debutant Rutherford carves up England attack
DUNEDIN, New Zealand (AFP) –
New Zealand debutant Hamish Rutherford piled on the pain for England on the third day of the opening Test Friday, single-handedly equalling the tourists’ first innings of 167.
The 23-year-old, not out 167, guided his side to 255 for two at lunch and remained at the crease with Ross Taylor, who was not out on one, in the second best debut by a Black Caps batsman in Test history.
The New Zealanders started the day at 131 without loss and amassed 124 runs to lead England by 88 runs at the break, although the tourists will have taken some comfort in dismissing Peter Fulton (55) and Kane Williamson (24).
After a first innings batting display at University Oval that Ian Botham labelled one of the worst he had seen, England’s bowlers lifted their aggression on day three as they tried to defend their paltry total.
James Anderson finally managed a breakthrough 51 overs into the New Zealand innings to dismiss Fulton.
His delivery stayed low and nicked the foot of Fulton’s bat before carrying to Matt Prior behind the stumps, ending a 158-run opening partnership.
Rutherford, the son of former Black Caps skipper Ken, did not slow down after the wicket, becoming only the ninth New Zealand batsman to score a century on debut with a drive through the covers for four.
The left-hander’s composed century included 15 fours and one six, contrasting with his father’s first Test, when he made a pair against the West Indies in 1985.
A clearly frustrated Anderson peppered Rutherford with short balls and followed-up with some verbal shots but the 23-year-old remained unruffled and maintained a crisp run rate, smacking 14 runs off Anderson’s 17th over.
He notched 150 with a towering six off Monty Panesar and belted the spinner over the boundary two balls later.
Only Mathew Sinclair, who scored 214 on his debut against West Indies at Wellington in 1999, has made a better start in Test cricket for New Zealand.
Just before lunch, Panesar gained some vengeance for the punishment he had endured when he clean bowled Williamson after deceiving the batsman with a quicker ball.