Rutherford ton tests Lions


New Zealand opener Hamish Rutherford tamed the England Lions with a commanding century on day one of the tour match at Grace Road.

New Zealand opener Hamish Rutherford tamed the England Lions with a commanding century on day one of the tour match at Grace Road.
The New Zealand opener, who made a century in his first Test innings against England at Dunedin two months ago, warmed up for the start of another two-match series at Lord's next week with an impressive reprise.
His unbeaten 116, full of trademark off-side fluency with a clutch of big hits over the top in a short spell for left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan, was the driving force behind the tourists' 184 for three as the first day of four was restricted by rain to just 44 overs.
Rutherford's 110-ball century contained 15 fours – 11 in his first 50 – and three sixes, the last over Graham Onions at long-on off Kerrigan to take him to three figures.
It was all hardly what Joe Root could have envisaged when, leading the Lions for the first time, he unsurprisingly chose to bowl first on a pitch with plenty of green about it on a cool and cloudy morning.
There was little evidence of lateral movement, however, and after two early plays and misses from Rutherford at Chris Woakes, the left-hander was soon climbing into a succession of off-side fours off either foot.
Rutherford's opening partner Peter Fulton lasted only until the seventh over before Onions had him lbw aiming to his favoured leg-side.
Woakes dropped Kane Williamson at gully off Onions, but the number three was soon gone anyway, when he pulled a short ball straight to midwicket in Toby Roland-Jones' first over.
Rutherford cashed in with three successive off-side fours off Roland-Jones when the Middlesex seamer was off target with both line and length, and reached his 50 with another back-foot boundary past cover off Chris Wright.
Ross Taylor was less adventurous but appeared untroubled too by the Lions' frontline attack in a stand of 127 either side of lunch.
The afternoon resumption was delayed by the first sign of forecast rain, after which Rutherford soon took it upon himself to hit Kerrigan out of the attack.
He was up the wicket to hit the young spinner's second delivery for a straight six – and after Michael Carberry dropped a steepling and swirling chance at deep midwicket to reprieve Rutherford on 85 in Kerrigan's second over, he responded in the next with three sixes.
The first was held at long-on by Onions but carried over the boundary – a fact confirmed when the outfielder checked the opinion of adjacent eye witnesses in the New Zealand dug-out.
Onions had no chance with the next, struck high over his head, before Rutherford celebrated his century with a brutal flat hit just the other side of the sightscreen.
Taylor was batting against type as a silent partner, apparently taking the opportunity for an extended net on his belated arrival on tour until Roland-Jones returned for only his fifth over and again struck immediately.
This time it was with a more deserving delivery which beat Taylor's attempted push to leg and won the lbw verdict shortly before more rain brought an early tea and wiped out the evening session entirely.
New batsman Dean Brownlie had spent 19 balls on nought but opened his account with an on-drive for four – and Rutherford remained a menacing presence, with power to add tomorrow.