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Hamish Rutherfor slammed 171 runs on Test debut for New Zealand in the first Test against England at Dunedin © Getty Images

Dunedin: Mar 9, 2013

A superb 171 on debut from Hamish Rutherford steered New Zealand to a commanding first innings lead over England on the third day of the opening Test at University Oval on Friday.

Rutherford, 23, posted the seventh highest debut in Test history as he carved up the England attack, exceeding the tourists’ total of 167 single handedly as New Zealand opened up a 235 innings lead.

The Black Caps were 402 for seven when rain halted play late in the day, with Brendon McCullum unbeaten on 44 and Bruce Martin 17 not out.

While a James Anderson-inspired England improved after a batting performance that Ian Botham said was one of the worst he had ever witnessed, the Black Caps face the frustrating prospect the weather will save the tourists’ blushes.

With the entire first day washed out, Friday’s interruption cost another 32 overs, leaving the Black Caps racing against time to use their advantage to rack up a rare win over the world’s second-ranked Test team.

Starting the day at 131 without loss, the New Zealanders piled on the pain for England as Rutherford nervelessly added 94 to his overnight total of 77, including a 158-run opening partnership with Peter Fulton (55).

On the way, he became only the ninth New Zealander to reach a century on debut, recording the best first-up score since South African Jacques Rudolph‘s 222 against Bangladesh in 2003.

It was the seventh highest debut in 136 years of Test cricket, bettered among New Zealanders only by Mathew Sinclair’s 214 against the West Indies in Wellington in 1999.

Brief Scores: England 167 (Jonathan Trott 45; Neil Wagner 4 for 42, Bruce Martin 4 for 43) trail New Zealand 402 for 7 (Hamish Rutherford 171, Peter Fulton 55; James Anderson 4 for 108) by 235 runs.

Catch live updates and ball-by-ball commentary of the fourth day of the first Test between New Zealand and England at Dunedin here

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