Steady ton from Ruther­ford sets Otago up

Otago Daily Times - - SPORT & RACING - ADRIAN SECONI

OTAGO opener Hamish Ruther­ford does not of­ten cast out the an­chor.

The left­han­der is more of a free­flow­ing player who likes to set the tempo. But it was a re­strained ver­sion of him­self which helped dig Otago out of early trou­ble with a ma­ture in­nings of 142 at the Univer­sity Oval yes­ter­day.

It was the 28­year­old’s 11th first­class hun­dred and it pro­vided the plat­form for the home side to reach 319 for five at stumps on day one of its Plun­ket Shield match against Cen­tral Districts.

‘‘It was nice to con­trib­ute and help put the boys in a po­si­tion where we can get to 300 in what was quite a chal­leng­ing sort of morn­ing,’’ the for­mer in­ter­na­tional said.

Otago found it­self in fa­mil­iar ter­ri­tory early on. The top five have been strug­gling to get the team off to safe starts and, at 19 for two, the dress­ing room would have been shuf­fling un­com­fort­ably in their seats.

Brad Wil­son nicked out be­fore he could get es­tab­lished and Rob Ni­col was trapped lbw.

But Ruther­ford and Neil Broom set about the re­pair job and got through to lunch with­out any more mishaps.

The pair put on 111 for the third wicket be­fore Broom, on 41, flirted with a de­liv­ery from Adam Milne and edged it to the slip cor­don.

Jimmy Nee­sham got set but holed out for 28 when he was lured into a hook shot by Blair Tick­ner close to the tea break.

Ruther­ford scored the bulk of his 20 bound­aries down the ground and mostly played nice and straight. He is at his best when he is get­ting on the front foot and punch­ing the ball past the bowler.

But af­ter five hours at the crease he got a loose de­liv­ery from spin­ner Ajaz Pa­tel.

He at­tempted to swat it through the cov­ers but dragged it back on to his stumps.

The new ball worked against the vis­it­ing side with Anaru Kitchen, on 46 not out, get­ting into his stride quickly, while Derek de Bo­order, also on 46 not out, plugged up the other end.

They will re­sume to­day look­ing to build towards a big firstin­nings to­tal.

’’It has been a re­ally good first day. If we can go back out there and win the first ses­sion, like al­ways, and go big and then see what hap­pens,’’ Ruther­ford said.

’’[Mark Craig] is one of the best spin­ners in the coun­try so hope­fully the sun comes out and it [the pitch] dries out and we can put them un­der pres­sure.’’

PHOTO: LINDA ROBERT­SON

Con­trolled cen­tury . . . Otago opener Hamish Ruther­ford plays a shot off his legs on his way to a cen­tury in his side’s Pun­ket Shield match against Cen­tral Districts at the Univer­sity Oval in Dunedin yes­ter­day.

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