Kiwis enjoy welcome time out in middle at Worcester

New Zealand's Hamish Rutherford, on his way to a half century at New Road.
New Zealand's Hamish Rutherford, on his way to a half century at New Road.
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Hamish Rutherford’s patient half-century and Doug Bracewell’s lower-order resistance helped New Zealand to 261-9 declared in their second and final tour match before next week’s first Investec Test.

After day one of four was washed out against Worcestershire at New Road, the Kiwis had to work hard for their runs in this non first-class fixture.

They lost Tom Latham early after winning the toss, caught behind pushing forward at Charlie Morris, and Rutherford (75) and Martin Guptill then shared a second-wicket stand of 68.

Guptill was a star of New Zealand’s run to the World Cup final this year and has been in outstanding form too with Derbyshire at the start of this summer, but has not played Test cricket since his country’s last tour to England two years ago.

He played confidently until chipping a slower ball from left-arm seamer Jack Shantry for an easy catch to mid-on.

Ross Taylor’s attacking intent brought him two early boundaries but little more before he edged one behind off another of Worcestershire’s left-armers, the economical Ross Whiteley, for 12.

Rutherford had just three boundaries in his 82-ball 50, completed with the second and third of those fours in the same Morris over soon after lunch.

But stand-in captain BJ Watling went cheaply in Morris’s next over, another catch for Ben Cox behind the stumps and, after Luke Ronchi departed for a breezy 27, it was 145-5.

Rutherford found another ally in Mark Craig. But both were to go to England all-rounder Moeen Ali, the No 3 mainstay another victim for Cox – stumped this time, after advancing to the off-spinner – while Craig fell to a fine catch by Whiteley at cover.

Even from 191-8, though, New Zealand had enough down the order to move past 250 as Bracewell tucked into Moeen before tea and went on to share a ninth-wicket stand of 70 with Neil Wagner.

They declared when Cox made Bracewell (43) his fifth victim of the innings, from an edge off Ed Barnard.

The hosts lost only Richard Oliver, well caught by Guptill at third slip from Wagner, in a reply worth 65-1 in 24 overs at stumps.

Kiwi all-rounder Corey Anderson has rejoined his team-mates as he continues his recovery after breaking his finger at the Indian Premier League.

The rest of the tourists’ IPL contingent, including captain Brendon McCullum, is due to arrive in London over the weekend.