England's pace spearhead finally dismissed Rutherford, at his first attempt with the second new ball, but not before New Zealand's debutant opener had piled up a record 171 on day three of the first Test. Replying to the tourists' hapless 167 all out, the Kiwis reached 402 for seven by stumps.
"I batted on it and thought it was a pretty good deck. For me to get 20, it must be fairly flat. Most Test pitches are, and we know that," said Anderson, who ended the day with four for 108. "But we can't dwell too much on our first innings; we've got to think about...batting much better in the second innings."
England know they will get their turn to do that soon enough, weather permitting in a match already badly affected by rain after a washout on day one.
They can be marginally encouraged by an improved performance with the ball, in Anderson's estimation, after New Zealand had raced to 131 for none on Thursday.
"It was better...still not quite there, but I thought we bowled much better than we did yesterday, asked a lot more questions of them," he said.
"We bowled really well with the second new ball, and I thought Broady [Stuart Broad] bowled well all the way through and was unlucky not to pick up more wickets."
Rutherford's innings contained 22 fours and three sixes - many of those boundaries crashed through the off-side.
The dream debut, on his home ground, capped a remarkable change in fortune for the 23-year-old son of former Kiwi Test batsman Ken.
"A year ago, I wasn't even playing for Otago," he said. "So to debut like I have is very special."
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