Left-arm spinner Bruce Martin took four wickets and opener Hamish Rutherford made an unbeaten half century in exceptional debuts as New Zealand bowled out England for 167,then reached 131 without loss by stumps Thursday on the second day of the first test.
Martin was first picked in a New Zealand test squad in 1999 but had to wait 14 years before being selected again and making his test debut at age 32. He took 4-43 and South African-born paceman Neil Wagner had 4-42 as New Zealand dismissed England in the first two sessions of a match which lost its first day to rain.
Rutherford then made 77 in his first test innings and Peter Fulton was 46 not out as New Zealand closed within 36 runs of England’s total.
Rutherford and Fulton had to bat 42 overs before stumps and did so with the help of England’s shoddy fielding which saw three dropped catches.
Meanwhile,England continued its inexplicable run of poor form in opening test matches which has continued despite its climb to No. 2 in the test rankings. England hasn’t won the first test of an away series since 2004 and hasn’t won any test,after scoring less than 200 in the first innings,in 13 years.
New Zealand won the toss and chose to bowl on the first day of the match Wednesday,but heavy rain meant no play was possible. The second day began in cold but fine weather,negating the advantage New Zealand had sought when captain Brendon McCullum opted to bowl in humid conditions.
New Zealand’s bowlers still managed on a relatively placid pitch to remove England’s batsmen in only two sessions. After the new ball pair of Southee and Boult had each claimed a wicket,Wagner made important inroads into the England order,dismissing captain Alastair Cook (10) and Kevin Pietersen (0) with consecutive deliveries.
Martin them ran through the middle and lower order,dismissing Jonathan Trott for the innings’ top score of 45,Matt Prior for 23,Stuart Broad for 10 and James Anderson (23) whose wicket was the last to fall. Rutherford chipped in with three catches and Martin and Wagner also held catches in an outstanding day for the Kiwi newcomers.
“It was pretty much a perfect day’s cricket to be honest,” Martin said. “It’s a bloody good feeling actually.
“Luck gave me a couple and I picked up a couple so it was a perfect day really. It was a good start by the openers but that’s all it is,a start,and we’ve got three big days left.”
Southee started the decline of the England innings when he dismissed struggling opener Nick Compton for a duck in the third over. Wagner then accelerated the advantage,claiming Cook and Pietersen with successive balls to leave England 18-3 after 11 overs.
Cook had a life on 9 when he was dropped by Martin at mid-wicket but wasn’t so lucky when he picked out Rutherford at point. Pietersen followed next ball,trapped lbw by Wagner with a fast,in-swinging Yorker. He had tucked his bat under his arm and was on his way almost before umpire Asad Rauf had a chance to raise his finger.
Wagner then removed Ian Bell for 23 and Steven Finn for 20. Trott shared a 46-run partnership with Bell for the fourth wicket and a 37-run stand with Prior for the sixth. Finn and Anderson then put on 47 for the ninth wicket before England’s innings ended in the 55th over.
Rutherford,the son of former New Zealand captain Ken Rutherford,made an emphatic start to his test career,becoming the ninth New Zealand opening batsman to score a half century on debut and the first since Craig Cumming in 2005.
Fulton’s innings was also a triumph of sorts. He was recalled for this match to play his 11th test and his first since 2009. In his 10 previous test appearances,he had managed only 314 runs at an average of 20 and he formed part of an ever-changing lineup as New Zealand sought a stable and productive opening pair.
Of the current New Zealand team,captain Brendon McCullum and wicketkeeper B.J. Watling have also opened in test matches as New Zealand sought to overcome top order failures which have dogged them in recent years,contributing to their decline to No. 8 in world test rankings.