Steady ton from Rutherford sets Otago up
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.’’
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.