Rampant Ronchi Hits Record Breaking Half Century to Rescue Kiwis on Day One
New Zealand debutant Luke Ronchi smashed the fastest ever Test fifty at Headingley as the tourists reached 297-8 at close on the opening day against England.
The half-ton was the second fastest Test fifty by a player on debut, and proved vital as the Kiwis had to recover from 2-2.
England picked up some wickets late on in the day to shift momentum as James Anderson passed the 400 mark.
The hosts won the toss and decided to put New Zealand into bat, and it seemed the perfect decision after a rain affected morning in Leeds.
Start of play was delayed until 13.30 and England quickly got in the groove as James Anderson made the early break through with Ian Bell catching Martin Guptill, as the opening bowler claimed a remarkable 400th Test match wicket.
400 quickly became 401 as the swing bowler made good use of the overcast conditions forcing a thin edge off Kane Williamson to Jos Buttler, as the tourists got off to a torrid start for the second time this series.
Opener Tom Latham stayed firm and gave some momentum to the visitors quickly getting them past the threshold of 50, as he and Ross Taylor began to turn the screw.
After a lapse of concentration by Taylor, England had their third wicket courtesy of Stuart Broad, trapping the New Zealand number four LBW, with the scoreboard now showing 68-3.
With captain Brendan McCullum now at the crease, Latham reinforced his solid start reaching a fluent fifty.
McCullum began to shift through the gears and increased the rate hitting a quick forty to help the tourists to 123-3 at Tea.
With a platform now set, it was England who thwarted the impetus, picking up two wickets within 25 minutes of the evening session.
With Latham on 58 not out and the score at 148-5, the stage was set for debutant wicket keeper Luke Ronchi to show what he can do with the bat.
If there were any nerves, they did not show as the wicket keeper batsman casually hit his first ball to the boundary for four which proved to be a sign of things to come.
The one day specialist did not hang about and quickly reached 45 hitting the ball aggressively around the park.
Luck seemed to be on Ronchi’s side being dropped by Broad with a tough caught-and-bowled attempt, and just to make things worse for the fast bowler, the ball went to the boundary.
On 49 the debutant showed no sign of nerves as he reached his record breaking maiden Test fifty off just 37 balls.
Latham and Ronchi’s partnership grew as they continued to frustrate the England bowling attack.
It was finally broken on 120 runs as Joe Root caught Latham for a composed 84 runs off the bowling of Broad, at 264-6.
Ronchi’s memorable debut innings came to end shortly after with Broad picking up his third wicket of the innings.
The 34 year old hit a powerful 88 off 70 balls comprising of 13 fours and three sixes.
With play coming to a close, Mark Wood got Southee out with Adam Lyth taking the catch as England ended the day on the front foot, with New Zealand 297-8 going into day two.
By Matthew Tilbury. Image Credit to Sky Sports