DUNEDIN, New Zealand, March 8 (Reuters) - Hamish Rutherford became the ninth New Zealander to score a century on debut as he helped his side to 255 for two, a first innings lead of 88 runs, at lunch on the third day of the first test against England on Friday.
Rutherford was 167 not out at the break having matched England’s first innings score by himself and will resume at the crease alongside Ross Taylor, who had made one run.
Peter Fulton (55) and Kane Williamson (24), the last New Zealand player to score a century on debut, were the only wickets to fall in the session as the home side hammered home their advantage.
New Zealand had bowled England out in less than two sessions on the second day of the match, which had the entire first day’s play washed out by rain.
The home side resumed on 131 with lefthander Rutherford on 77 and Fulton on 46 and the pair wasted little time getting back into stride with Rutherford stroking two boundaries in the fourth over of the day off paceman Steve Finn.
Fulton, who provided the stabilising influence while Rutherford attacked at the other end, brought up his second test half century in the next over when he tucked a James Anderson delivery behind square for a single.
Rutherford moved rapidly into the 90s but lost Fulton with the score on 158 when the tall right hander got a bottom edge to an Anderson delivery that did not bounce and wicketkeeper Matt Prior took a low catch.
Rutherford moved to 99 when he cut a Finn delivery to the third man boundary and defended the next ball before bringing up the milestone with an exquisitely timed drive that raced to the extra cover boundary.
The 23-year-old did not wait for the ball to cross the rope to celebrate, raising his arms as he jogged down the pitch to meet Williamson as the crowd on his home ground rose to their feet.
His century came off 139 balls and included 15 boundaries and one six.
England had the better of the 30 minutes after Fulton’s dismissal but Williamson patiently resisted, scoring two runs from 39 balls.
He hit his first boundary on his 40th delivery and that proved a release valve.
England’s shoulders slumped, their chatter dropped and their Barmy Army supporters were silenced as the home side seized back the advantage and continued to stretch their lead.
Williamson was bowled by left arm spinner Monty Panesar to break the 91-run partnership just 15 minutes before lunch. (Editing by Nick Mulvenney)