After a humiliating opening for England, New Zealand took total control of the first Test on the third morning which produced 124 runs for the loss of two wickets. It brought triumph for the debutant opener, Hamish Rutherford, who began the day on 77 and played with freedom to reach a memorable hundred on his home ground, only the eighth New Zealander to reach three figures in his first Test innings and the ninth to do so on debut.
By lunch New Zealand, at 255 for two, already had a lead of 88, with Rutherford unbeaten on 167, the highest maiden innings against England, and Ross Taylor, himself returned to Test cricket after a self-imposed exile following New Zealand's internecine war, new to the crease and just off the mark.
Rutherford was dismissed for 171 shortly after the interval, caught by the substitute fielder Chris Woakes at midwicket off Jimmy Anderson.
England's only successes during a long morning, lengthened by the start being half an hour early to make up some of the time lost on the abandoned first day, were the wickets of Peter Fulton, to Anderson, and Kane Williamson, to Monty Panesar, the only chances created. Rutherford, on the other hand, had added 103 runs since Kevin Pietersen dropped a straightforward chance in the gully on the previous evening.
If Rutherford had any nerves when he resumed, they failed to manifest themselves as he started confidently against Steven Finn and Anderson.
Twice he took emphatic boundaries from Finn – a square drive and then through mid-on to move into the 80s. Fulton had provided solid support and reached his own half-century, an innings that had taken him more than three hours. A clip to the midwicket fence off Anderson took Rutherford into the 90s, whereupon Fulton completed the 150 stand with an angle to third man.
The partnership had reached 158, only nine runs short of England's first innings, when England finally gained a wicket as Anderson hung one out a little wider, Fulton flicked at it with little foot movement and Matt Prior, newly installed as vice-captain, completed an excellent low catch from the inside edge.
It brought to the crease Williamson, the last New Zealand batsman to make a hundred in his debut innings, against India in Ahmedabad in 2010, so an appropriate figure to be there. A single took Rutherford to 99 before he threaded Finn deliciously to the extra cover fence to reach his century, from 139 balls with 15 fours and a six.
For a period, while Williamson bedded himself in, England retained a little control, with Panesar and Stuart Broad in tandem, but they looked no closer to getting wickets than they had on the first day.
This is an exceptionally good pitch and merely highlights the profligacy of England's batting. When Broad was replaced by Anderson, Rutherford exploded once more, taking three fours in four deliveries and bringing up the 50 partnership with Williamson.
England would have been hoping for some impact from the second new ball which was due three overs after lunch.
Rutherford reached 150 by hitting Panesar over long-off for six and then repeating the shot two balls later. However, with lunch imminent, Panesar got a second wicket for England when Williamson tried to force a quicker arm ball off the back foot and was bowled for 24, the second-wicket stand being worth 91.
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