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Cricket: Dazzling debut 'just doing my job' says Rutherford

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

New Zealand's Hamish Rutherford played down his achievement in posting the seventh highest debut in Test history Friday, saying he was just doing his job for the Black Caps.

The 23-year-old scored 171 against England in the opening Test at his home ground in Dunedin to put the unfancied New Zealanders in a commanding position against the second-ranked team in Test cricket.

"It won't sink in until I get home and have a wee lie down," the quietly-spoken batsman said.

"There was a lot of relief, I suppose. Obviously it's very special to do it here in front of my home fans and family and friends."

Rutherford, the son of former Black Caps captain Ken, said he deliberately kept his celebrations muted after becoming only the ninth New Zealander to score a century on debut, briefly raising his bat to mark the milestone.

"You're picked to do a job and your job is to score runs, so at the end of the day that's what you're picked to do," he said, admitting he was still kicking himself after losing his wicket just after lunch.

Rutherford conceded he might imbibe in a "cheeky" glass of milk after his stunning effort but put his achievement down to sound advice from his mentor, former Black Cap Craig Cumming, and batting on his home ground.

His composed innings contrasted with his father's first Test in 1985, when Rutherford senior made a pair against the West Indies in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad.

His father, who was only 19 at the time and facing the mighty West Indies pace attack in their heyday on home turf, went on to play 56 Tests and captain New Zealand from 1992-95.

Rutherford did not believe his debut innings would finally stop him from being referred to as Ken Rutherford's boy.

"I don't know if that'll quite happen just yet, we'll see what happens," he said.

In the meantime, he said he would stick to a simple formula for Test match batting.

"You just duck and weave and... try and hit as many as you can in between," he said.

The approach saw Rutherford score 22 fours and three sixes during 340 minutes at the crease.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130308/cricket-dazzling-debut-just-doing-my-job-says-rutherford