By Daniel Gilhooly
Hamish Rutherford has produced one of the great New Zealand Test cricket debut performances with his innings of 171 against England at Dunedin.
The 23-year-old brightened a cold, gloomy day at his home ground of University Oval before a remarkable knock ended soon after lunch on the third day.
The left-hander had scored the bulk of New Zealand’s 267 runs when he was the third wicket to fall, undone by the first delivery of the second new ball bowled by James Anderson which he lobbed to substitute fielder Chris Woakes at midwicket.
A disconsolate walk from the ground didn’t reflect the brilliant innings which saw Rutherford etch his name in the Test record books.
His was the seventh highest Test score by any batsman on debut and the second-highest by a New Zealander, bettered only by Mathew Sinclair’s 214 against the West Indies in 1999.
Rutherford also now sits in second place on two notable all-time lists – of opening batsmen on debut and left-handers on debut.
Called in as a replacement for the injured Martin Guptill, Rutherford looked unruffled from the outset, scoring at a fluent rate in a 217-ball knock that lasted nearly six hours.
He struck 22 fours – many of them cover drives – and three straight sixes off spinner Monty Panesar.
The innings provides a stark contrast to the Test cricket initiation for his father Ken Rutherford, who went on to captain New Zealand.
Ken Rutherford was battered as a 19-year-old on a debut tour to the West Indies in 1985, scoring 12 runs from his first seven innings.
It took him 16 innings to reach the amount of runs his son achieved in a memorable six hours at the crease.
Watch the video for Rutherford bringing up his century.