Andrew Alderson

Andrew Alderson is a sport writer for the Herald on Sunday.

Cricket: Black Caps dominate England

Debutant Hamish Rutherford. Photo / Getty Images.
Debutant Hamish Rutherford. Photo / Getty Images.

New Zealand has produced one of its most dominant days in test cricket history at the University Oval.

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The hosts are 131 without loss at stumps in response to England's 167. Even the Barmy Army were impressed into silence for much of the day.

England are a top international team but, on today's evidence, the neutral observer could be forgiven for mistaking who was ranked second in the world and who was ranked eighth.

Debutant Hamish Rutherford (77 not out) and the recalled Peter Fulton (46 not out) posted New Zealand's first century opening partnership in 23 innings. The last was against Zimbabwe in January last year. The last against England was 163 between Mark Richardson and Stephen Fleming at Nottingham in 2004; none has been higher against any team since.

The pair are the country's 21st different opening partnership since 2005, but both looked settled against the England attack. The wicket flattened out in the sun and the bounce was less effective than in the morning.

Fulton and Rutherford were selected on the back of domestic form and met expectations with their application. Rutherford had a couple of dicey moments with the slip cordon (particularly a sitter dropped by Kevin Pietersen in the gully when he was on 64). Fulton's supposed vulnerability to bounce was also tested. Both got behind the ball for the most part and played straight.

Earlier New Zealand's Bruce Martin finished with four for 43 on debut and Neil Wagner, playing his first test on his home ground, took four for 42. Eight of the England batsmen were caught as the New Zealand bowling attack coaxed a series of false shots.

Wagner steamed in on his adopted home ground and ripped through the heart of the England top order, dismissing Alastair Cook, Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell. His aggression was palpable and the inswinger he delivered Pietersen to trap him LBW (and set up an unsuccessful hat trick) won the Oscar for ball of the innings. It's unlikely Wagner would have played if Doug Bracewell hadn't cut his foot.

Martin secured three dismissals immediately post-lunch. He had Matt Prior chipping to Kane Williamson at point; enticed Jonathan Trott into a mistimed sweep to short fine leg for the top score of 45, and had Stuart Broad loft a sweep shot to deep square leg. Dean Brownlie had recently been posted back by captain Brendon McCullum, setting a useful trap.

- Herald on Sunday

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