March 24, 2006

New Zealand cricket

Bruise-some threesome and other stories

Sriram Veera
James Franklin is congratulated ny his team-mates after taking his fifth wicket, New Zealand v West Indies, 2nd Test, Wellington, 1st day, March 17 2006
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West Indies are seeking redemption in the third and final Test against New Zealand while the hosts are looking to pull off a clean sweep in preparation for their expected tough tour of South Africa. But there are several tests within the Test.

Fazeer Mohammed says West Indies are once again at that familiar position in a series - nothing but pride to play for.

Hamish Marshall is under the cosh after struggling as an opener. He finished last season averaging more than 45 in Tests, while his last six Test innings, four as opener, have produced an average of 11.83. And he sees the writing on the wall.

James Franklin feels he is making steady progress towards sealing a position as the leading allrounder in the side.

John Bracewell has said he rates Franklin as a batsman who can bowl and highly praises his technical ability and timing. When told of Bracewell's comment, Franklin looked wide-eyed and said he still saw his primary role as being a wicket-taker. "As far as I'm concerned I'm in the team as a bowler first and foremost when I get picked and the batting's a bonus.

Kyle Mills, who booked his place in the third Test squad with a six-wicket haul, speaks about the healthy competition for seamers in the NZ side.

Chris Martin, who finished with 2 for 66 and 2 for 65 in the second Test, credits John Bracewell and Stephen Fleming, who had chat with him, for the improvement in the form from a poor first Test to the good showing in the second. But more interestingly, he talks about his er... batting.

"I'm struggling a little bit. I'm in one of those patches again when I'm not troubling the scorers and even the partnerships that I tend to have, and are amusing for the spectators, haven't quite occurred in this series but hopefully I can fix that in this game.

Richard Boock writes about the bruise-some threesome - Chris Martin, Kyle Mills and James Franklin, the seamers who were, according to Boock, the biggest surprise at Wellington last week.

Sriram Veera is a former staff writer at ESPNcricinfo

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