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Developing Rutherford delights in ton

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Lessons learned from a “naïve” performance in New Zealand’s first tour match helped Hamish Rutherford return to form against England Lions.

Rutherford was the star of the opening day as the Black Caps began their final preparations for the two-match Investec Test series, which begins next week.

The opener powered his way to an unbeaten 116 on a rain-shortened opening day at Grace Road, helping the Black Caps to 184 for three after 44 overs.

“We want to win this game so, for me personally, it is nice to spend some time at the crease,” he said.

“I have not batted a lot over here so to spend some time in the middle was massive.

“It was a good attack and early on it was a little testing. The pitch was a bit green and did a little bit. They’re all very good bowlers and there were a few ‘jaffas’ flying around.”

Hamish Rutherford

New Zealand's centurion Hamish Rutherford is congratulated by Ross Taylor after overcoming "naivety" ahead of next week's Test at Lord's

Rutherford is certainly a rookie when it comes to English conditions despite having had a spell playing in Scotland six years ago.

In his first experience of in England, he was bowled cheaply twice despite Derbyshire fielding an under-strength attack in New Zealand’s first encounter since heading to these shores.

“I came over here with a reasonably open mind and was maybe a little naive last week,” he admitted. “But I really tried to work hard leading into this game to do well.”

Rutherford can now turn his attentions to the first Test at Lord’s – a prospect he feels will be “very special”.

“We did some training there last week so I had a bit of a walk around, trying to get a feel for it,” he added.

“We have three days leading up to the game next week and will get the chance to absorb it because it will be a little much, obviously walking out.

“But you have just got to try and think of it as a normal cricket ground and not get too wound up on that sort of stuff.”

The Lions will have perhaps hoped for more wickets after skipper Joe Root opted to bowl having won the toss.

However, Toby Roland-Jones, who claimed two of the three to fall, acknowledged that Rutherford proved tricky to bowl at.

He said: "He manufactures width pretty well, as he showed throughout his innings, and he's pretty aggressive with it as well.
"We certainly tried to straighten up on him, and maybe just restrict his flow of boundaries as much as anything.
"I certainly felt that, as the day wore on, we were probably a bit better at that and learned a bit more about him.”

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