New Zealand in control after day 2 v England

Published: 07th March 2013 12:48 PM  |   Last Updated: 07th March 2013 12:48 PM   |  A+A-

By AP

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, a left-arm spinner, 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 returned 4-43 and South African-born paceman Neil Wagner had 4-42 as New Zealand dismissed England in the first two sessions after the scheduled first day was washed out by rain.

Rutherford, the son of former New Zealand test captain Ken Rutherford, then made an unbeaten 77 in his first test innings and Peter Fulton was 46 not out as New Zealand closed within 36 runs of England's total.

The opening pair had to bat 42 overs before stumps and did so with the help of some shoddy England fielding, including three dropped catches.

"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. It was a good start by the openers but that's all it is, a start, and we've got three big days left."

England continued its run of poor form in the opening matches of test series, a run that defies its climb to No. 2 in the test rankings. England hasn't won the first test of an away series since 2004. The English haven't won after being dismissed for under 200 in the first innings of any test in 13 years.

New Zealand won the toss and elected to field 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 Tim Southee and Trent 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 then ran through the middle and lower order, dismissing Jonathan Trott for the innings' top score of 45, Matt Prior (23), Stuart Broad (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.

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.

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 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 was 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 the New Zealanders sought to overcome top order failures which have dogged them in recent years, contributing to their decline to No. 8 in the test rankings.

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