New Zealand v England

  • Last Updated: March 21 2013, 23:42 GMT

Steven Finn gave England a much-needed first breakthrough just before lunch, after Alastair Cook chose to bowl in the final Test against New Zealand at Eden Park.

Bairstow: Gets his chance in place of injured Pietersen
Bairstow: Gets his chance in place of injured Pietersen

Hamish Rutherford and Peter Fulton had few alarms and appeared increasingly at ease with their surroundings, until the left-hander fenced a catch high to Cook at slip to leave the Kiwis 79 for one.

Cook's gamble that this drop-in pitch might be at its most fruitful for his bowlers in the first session had previously shown no signs of paying off.

There was precious little encouragement for England's frontline seam attack, including first-change Finn at the same venue where he gave Rutherford a torrid time in the tourists' one-day international victory last month.

This time, the nearest he came in his first spell was when Rutherford inside-edged him on to his thigh-pad and away for a single wide of short-leg in his first over.

James Anderson twice beat Rutherford on the back foot, and then had Fulton edging high and just past third slip to go from 12 to 16.

There were no clear-cut chances in the first hour on an apparently easy-paced and true pitch, with just enough life in it for Anderson to hit Rutherford on the grille of the helmet with a short ball in his eighth over.

Cook turned to Monty Panesar at 52 for none half an hour before lunch, only to see Rutherford hit the slow left-armer twice for six either side of the short straight boundary in his second over.

Fulton had already mis-hooked Stuart Broad for a steepling six almost straight over the wicketkeeper's head.

It seemed nothing was going England's way in the early stages of this potential series decider - until Finn switched ends, and at last broke the opening stand.


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