England must fight to save first Test in New Zealand, says Sir Ian Botham
Last Updated: March 8, 2013 8:46pm
Sir Ian Botham says England will have to show plenty more of the fight and character they displayed on day three if they are to save the opening Test against New Zealand, in Dunedin.
The home side improved their overnight 131-0 to 402-7 - a first-innings lead of 235 - as opener Hamish Rutherford struck 171, the seventh highest score on Test debut.
England, dismissed for just 167 on day two, showed greater resilience as seamers James Anderson (4-108) and Stuart Broad (2-89) got amongst the wickets before bad light brought the evening session to a premature close.
"England were led by Jimmy Anderson, who was magnificent, it has to be said," said former all-rounder Botham. "I thought Broad bowled the best we've seen him for a while.
"He'd gone something like 70-odd overs without a wicket so he put that to rest today and got that monkey off his back and Steven Finn bowled with good pace - although perhaps not as well as he did yesterday.
"England showed a lot of fight and character and they had to but they are still a long way behind in this game. New Zealand have a 235-run lead.
"Knowing [New Zealand captain] Brendon McCullum - what will he do? If there is any sort of weather around I'd expect England to be batting very early tomorrow morning."
"England showed a lot of fight and character and they had to but they are still a long way behind in this game."
Sir Ian Botham
Debutant Rutherford began the day unbeaten on 77 and eased to his century off 139 balls shortly after Anderson claimed the wicket of Peter Fulton (55) to break an opening stand of 158.
The 23-year-old, playing on his home ground, posted the highest ever score in a debut innings against England when he passed the 165 scored by Australian Charles Bannerman in 1877.
In total Rutherford hit 22 fours and three sixes off 217 balls, prompting former England all-rounder Paul Collingwood to suggest he has the makings of a 'world-class player'.
"He was magnificent - it's as simple as that," said Collingwood. "I don't think anybody expected Rutherford to have an impact on the game like he has in his first innings.
"He's come out and played with no fear and just seemed to enjoy the international scene and the challenge of fast bowlers running in.
"He seems to know the game. It was a flat pitch, yes, but you've still got to go out there and play your shots in the right manner and choose the right lengths and he did that superbly well.
"The way that he timed the ball all through the innings was impressive - he seems a powerful lad; he's very strong through the off-side.
"It's too early to say it, but he looks a world-class player. It's too early to say that because we haven't seen him in all sorts of conditions. But on that pitch everybody was saying 'how are you going to get him out?'"
Shortly after Rutherford's dismissal, New Zealand lost three wickets for 16 as Anderson collected the scalps of Ross Taylor and Dean Brownlie before Stuart Broad bowled BJ Watling first ball.
Former England captain Alec Stewart told Sky Sports that as important a contribution as Anderson made, he was most impressed with Broad's breakthroughs.
"Yesterday we hammered them and they deserved it as well because it was a very poor performance, but today the bowlers have been very, very good.
"I can't speak too highly of James Anderson - he's shown all of his skills. But it's Stuart Broad who has really impressed me because he's had it tough over the last few months.
"People have criticised him and he's had this injury but today I thought he ran in well. He sprinted into the crease with good pace and delivered and followed through nicely.
"Last summer he was almost pulling up just shy of the five-foot mark. Now he's following through a good four, five, six paces.
"He's done very well and you hope he can build on this because we've all played with injuries but there must be some doubt at the back of his mind.
"If you've got a heel problem and you think it might be painful or it could be agony when you whack your front foot down - and you may not be able to play [it's a problem]. Now he's almost bowled through that and I just think he'll go from strength to strength.
"For me he's nailed on for the Ashes so long as he stays fit because he brings so much to that bowling attack - he has the variety, he has height, pace and great control and he supplements what Anderson and Steven Finn can offer too."
Watch live coverage of the fourth day of the first Test between New Zealand and England from 8.30pm on Sky Sports 1 HD.