Cricket: Drab start to England's tour of NZ

By David Leggat

Anton Devcich at the crease for the New Zealand XI. Photo / Getty Images
Anton Devcich at the crease for the New Zealand XI. Photo / Getty Images

The winterless north? Not yesterday, and right on cue for the start of England's cricket tour.

Farmers will be delighted but the footing was greasy for the bowlers and when a stronger bout of drizzle arrived almost halfway through the New Zealand XI's promising innings, that was that.

The home side got as far as 70 for one off 9.1 overs and the teams will go at it again today and tomorrow in afternoon games. The forecast for today is not promising, but tomorrow is more encouraging.

There was enough time for Hamish Rutherford to give a glimpse of the form he's been in for Otago in the past few months. The lefthander - son of former test captain Ken - struck the ball crisply.

He eased England's captain, Stuart Broad, through extra cover then he reacquainted himself with his Otago teammate of last season, tall seamer Steven Finn, and bounced him for six over point.

Rutherford is the sole newcomer named in the New Zealand T20 squad to start their three-game rubber as part of the ANZ international series at Eden Park on Saturday.

Getting a decent, if reasonably brief, look yesterday at several of the bowlers who'll comprise England's attack at the weekend won't hurt.

"Ever since he came on the scene, the cleanness of his ball striking was something that stood out," New Zealand XI captain Andrew Ellis said.

Anton Devcich and Tom Latham had their moments in a stand worth 47 off 36 balls, but not much should be read into yesterday's activities.

•England have called seamer James Harris, nickname Rolf, to New Zealand for the T20 series as like-for-like cover for Stuart Meaker, who is battling a neck injury.

- NZ Herald

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