Leeds, England: Luke Ronchi scored a 70-ball 88 on his test debut as New Zealand went on the attack after a woeful start to close on 297-8 on day one of the second test against England on Friday.
Jimmy Anderson became the 12th player — and first from England — to pass the 400-wicket barrier in tests by removing Martin Guptill and Kane Williamson for ducks in the third over, reducing the Black Caps to 2-2 at Headingley.
Opener Tom Latham (84) led New Zealand's recovery only to be upstaged by wicketkeeper-batsman Ronchi, who came to the crease with his team struggling on 144-5 and struck 13 fours and three sixes in a flamboyant innings.
"I was trying to enjoy it as much as I could," said the 34-year-old Ronchi, who was drafted in as a replacement for injured allrounder Corey Anderson.
"It could be my one and only test — I'd have hated to go out there and not play my natural game."
Latham and Ronchi — who put on 120 runs for the sixth wicket, at nearly 5 runs an over — fell to Stuart Broad in the space of three balls in the final hour, leaving the match evenly poised going into day two.
England leads the two-test series 1-0.
New Zealand launched a recovery by maintaining its trademark aggressive approach that is more akin to one-day and Twenty20 cricket — captain Brendon McCullum (41), for example, smashed his first ball for six over extra cover and Ronchi was on course for the fastest century by a test debutant. Nearly 70 percent of the runs came in boundaries.
With rain forecast for later in the test and New Zealand needing a victory to square the series, the tourists didn't really have another option.
Only 65 overs were possible in the day, with rain causing a 2½-hour delay to the start of play before passing showers led to two brief breaks early on.
Anderson's fiery opening spell under threatening skies accounted for two of New Zealand's most dangerous batsmen and took him to 401 wickets in his 104th test. It was the latest milestone for the 32-year-old seam bowler, who passed Ian Botham's national record of 383 test wickets in the recent series against West Indies in the Caribbean.
India's Harbhajan Singh is the only active bowler above Anderson in the list of all-time wicket-takers in tests. Sri Lanka great Muttiah Muralitharan is No. 1 with 800 wickets.
"It's a nice feeling, a proud moment for me," Anderson said. "It feels a bit surreal when you see the list up on TV and all the great players on it."
Guptill was caught at second slip by Ian Bell to bring up Anderson's 400th wicket before the paceman emerged after a 10-minute rain delay to entice an edge from Williamson to wicketkeeper Jos Buttler. That came in a double-wicket maiden for Anderson.
Ross Taylor was trapped lbw — playing no stroke to Broad — for 20 and McCullum departed on the first ball after tea, slapping a poor shot off Mark Wood straight to mid-off. When B.J. Watling was bowled by Wood for 14, New Zealand was up against it — not that it showed with Ronchi.
A former Australia international who switched nationalities to the country of his birth in 2013, Ronchi is more at home in the limited-overs game and once hit an 11-ball fifty in Australian state cricket.
Showing no nerves on his test debut, he came in with Latham on 58 and gloved his first ball over the slip cordon for four. Soon, he was level with his partner on 72, displaying a fine array of stroke-making that continually pierced England's attacking field placings.
"It was just people doing their natural thing," Ronchi said of New Zealand's approach. "Everyone is going out there with a free mind. I think it's the best way to go out there and do it."
Latham led a charmed life. He was dropped three times in six balls — twice off the bowling of Moeen Ali in successive deliveries — and survived DRS twice.
His 180-ball innings came to end when he edged Broad to Joe Root at first slip and Ronchi pulled the same bowler to Anderson at deep fine leg two balls later. India's Shikhar Dhawan holds the record for the quickest century on debut, off 85 balls in 2013, and Ronchi would likely have broken it.