January 5, 2013

New Zealand cricket

Batting options thin for New Zealand

Going into the final Test of the South Africa series, New Zealand's selectors face a difficult task and their options are limited, says David Leggat in the New Zealand Herald.

The batting is where there are big issues. The number 45 roars loudly in the New Zealanders' ears at the moment. The difficulty is that just where they need some alternatives, they have precisely one. Auckland lefthander Colin Munro is the only spare batsman in the tour group of 15.

In the same paper, Leggat weighs up Brendon McCullum's performance in his first Test as full-time captain.

For a start, he got it wrong at the toss. Dreadfully wrong, as it turned out. His idea was that if New Zealand could see out the first part of the day - when by common consent the Newlands pitch invariably helps the seamers - his batsmen would prosper. Essentially, McCullum backed his batting group to do the business against the world's best fast bowling trio. He wanted, in his words, to front the game. As the day unfolded, he could have been forgiven for feeling slightly sick about it all. That was certainly the feeling of some in the New Zealand dressing room. The pragmatic play would have been to field first, which would have served two purposes.

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