New Zealand v England: Tourists toil before bad light in Dunedin

 

First Test, Dunedin (day three):

England 167 v New Zealand 402-7

Match scorecard

New Zealand strengthened their grip on the first Test against England on a truncated third day in Dunedin.

Hamish Rutherford converted his overnight 77 into a splendid 171 - the seventh highest score on Test debut - in the hosts' 402-7, a lead of 235.

Peter Fulton made 55 and captain Brendon McCullum was 44 not out when bad light ended play shortly after tea.

James Anderson claimed four wickets on a day when an otherwise wayward attack leaked more than four runs an over.

He bowled with skill and no little hostility, particularly during a fine post-lunch spell that brought him three wickets in seven overs, but it was a rare period of England dominance.

Analysis

"New Zealand have time to bat on - the question is how long. England may bowl them out, but the home side are still in very strong position.

"The trouble is if England get them out early on day four, they have got longer to bat, which might not be a good thing either."

The day belonged indisputably to 23-year-old Rutherford, who continued in much the same authoritative manner that marked his progress on the second evening.

The standing ovation he was afforded as he left the field, having struck 22 fours and three sixes, was richly deserved. He had scored two-thirds of his side's runs.

With rain washing out the opening day, and more forecast, it remains possible that New Zealand could be denied the chance to press for what would be only their second victory in 12 Tests.

England's immediate priority, however, centres around mopping up an obdurate tail, before they set about overturning an already imposing first-innings deficit.

Their batsmen can at least take encouragement from a reliable University Oval pitch offering no great pace, as Rutherford and company will testify.

He extended his opening stand with Fulton - worth 131 overnight - to 158 before the latter, betrayed by a lack of foot movement, was caught behind via bottom edge off Anderson half an hour into the day.

Rutherford's hundred, which spanned just 139 balls, arrived in the next over courtesy of a flowing cover drive, one of the features of an innings which was pleasing on the eye as well as the New Zealand scorecard.

Highest scores on Test debut

287: Tip Foster (Eng) v Aus, Sydney, 1903

222*: Jacques Rudolph (SA) v Bang, Chittagong, 2003

214: Lawrence Rowe (WI) v NZ, Kingston, 1972

214: Mathew Sinclair (NZ) v WI, Wellington, 1999

201: Brendon Kuruppu (SL) v NZ, Colombo, 1987

176: George Headley (WI) v Eng, Bridgetown, 1930

171: Hamish Rutherford (NZ) v Eng, Dunedin, 2013

The largely ineffective Monty Panesar was twice lifted for six in an over that saw Rutherford race past 150, and it came as something of a surprise when the left-arm spinner bowled Kane Williamson with an arm ball shortly before lunch to end a second-wicket stand of 91.

A fired-up Anderson finally ended Rutherford's 217-ball innings moments with the first delivery with the new ball, the tamest of catches to square-leg hardly in keeping with the powerful strokeplay he demonstrated during more than five and a half hours at the crease.

Only Mathew Sinclair, with 214 against West Indies in 1999, has scored more on Test debut for New Zealand.

Ross Taylor received a fiery send-off from Anderson after edging to Jonathan Trott at second slip for 31, Dean Brownlie - dropped by Joe Root at third slip on two - played on to the same bowler, and BJ Watling fatally shouldered arms first ball to Stuart Broad.

Three wickets had fallen for 16 runs to raise England's hopes of limiting New Zealand to a manageable lead, but Tim Southee restored order with an entertaining 21-ball 25.

He hoisted Broad over deep square-leg before being bowled attempting another mow across the line.

However, the increasingly aggressive McCullum found an able ally in Bruce Martin until bad light and then rain set in for the day.