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Richardson: "New Zealand really needed this win"
Mark Richardson looks back at New Zealand's thrilling win over Pakistan in the first Test (07:56)
November 28, 2009
New Zealand v Pakistan, 1st Test, Dunedin, 5th day
Richardson: "New Zealand really needed this win"November 28, 2009
Akhila Ranganna: Hello and welcome to Cricinfo Talk. I am joined by former New Zealand batsman, Mark Richardson, to look back on what was an enthralling game of Test cricket between New Zealand and Pakistan at Dunedin.
Mark, Test cricket has received criticism from several quarters, but a game like the one we have just seen, is the best advertisement for Test cricket, isn't it?
Mark Richardson: Yes, this was a cracking Test and just what Dunedin needed. It is a new Test venue and a very nice one. It started off with the game against Bangladesh and that wasn't much of a game. The Test against West Indies got rained off last year but this Test twisted and turned. It finished on a Saturday so there was crowd in; about 6000 people came in which is a really good crowd for a Test in New Zealand. New Zealand got across the line in the end and it was great for the locals. There were tense moments and suspense, guys were scoring tons and fifities on debut, Shane Bond was back in the match with wickets and there was so much to enjoy in this Test. There was seldom a dull moment.
AR: This was a Test in which the veterans and the youngsters did well. Shane Bond and Mohammad Asif were making Test comebacks - have you seen such a sustained spell of good fast bowling in a long time?
MR: I was concerned when Bond came back into this Test side. He is a little long in the tooth and I thought he might not be the same Bond of old, but he certainly was in the first innings. He bowled a ball that was recorded at 152 kmh which is genuinely fast; there are not many bowlers around in world cricket who can bowl that speed. He was consistently in the mid-140s in the first innings. He tired a little and had some slow spells but those spells were still in the high 130s. He was accurate, he swung the ball and clever with the way he bowled. It was fantastic to see him back. I am not surprised with the quality because I know he is a clever bowler but I was surprised with the pace he generated. That is great for New Zealand and they have to keep him out there for as long as possible.
I was really pleased with Asif. He is not an express bowler but he is a thinking bowler. He uses what he has, which is his height, and he pushed batsmen back with the short ball and you can say that he has an aggressive 130 kmh of pace. He just bowls an immaculate line. When they go to Wellington where the wicket will be slightly fresher than it was here, he could be handful.
AR: What did you make of the way the youngsters - Umar Akmal and Mohammad Aamer - performed?
MR: Those two are really promising cricketers. To come out at a stage when your team is about 100 for five or six and then play so positively on debut in difficult conditions was fantastic. He was rewarded with a hundred on debut and that was great viewing. And in the second innings, in a real critical period of the game, with all the pressure on him, he applied himself and played a totally different innings. That shows a cricketer with a mental game that should take him a long way.
Aamer has real pace and is very aggressive and he was probably the pick of the bowlers in the whole Test when it came to reverse-swinging the ball. He got it to reverse in the 45th over of the second innings. He is a young man and will make some mistakes along the way but he looks like he will be a wonderful prospect for Pakistan. He also looks like he can hold the bat and he should get better as far his batting goes and what Pakistan has there is the making of a genuine allrounder in years to come.
AR: Moving to New Zealand, Ross Taylor really struggled with the bat, but he stuck through that and made runs …
MR: Taylor struggled at the beginning of his innings but he fought through. We all know Taylor as a very exciting batsman and a smasher of the cricket ball. He played very well in the IPL but in this Test he showed a degree of application. He showed that he was able to be dominated by the bowler for periods of time yet work his way through that. There was the odd Taylor-like shot but he has such good hand-eye coordination that he got away with it. He would have learnt a lot from these knocks; Test batting is all about periods when the bowlers will be on top of you, surviving those periods and then prospering later on. At No.4 he is the lynchpin of a Test attack but he is still learning and developing in what is an inconsistent batting line-up for New Zealand. But the fact that he was able to grit his teeth and make two meaningful contributions was really good.
AR: This is New Zealand's first Test win in over a year; what does this win mean for them?
MR: I think the first thing to acknowledge about this win is that it was against one of the major countries. They have been able to bully Bangladesh but have struggled against other nations. Daniel Vettori needed to captain this side to a Test win; the bowlers needed to stand up and bowl a team out on the last day of a Test. The bowling team operated as a unit so they will be happy with that. They will still be concerned about the way they tend to get into dominant positions after the first innings and then let things slip. It is something that has haunted their Test sides for over nine to ten years. That will be a concern to them. They picked themselves up on the last day; they won the crucial areas of the game and won enough of them to win this Test. Any Test victory for this side is something to celebrate and they will be doing that long and hard in the evening.
AR: How does this set up the rest of the series?
MR: Going one-up in the series is very important. They now go to Wellington which generally has more pace and bounce. New Zealand will back themselves in that environment. They know that Pakistan's young top order could be vulnerable if there is any movement so they will be looking to target this second Test because they feel that Wellington could be a result pitch and if so they have get it in their favour and go up 2-0. The final Test is at Napier which has one of the best batting surfaces anywhere around the world and so it is hard to generate a result there. The next Test as far as this series and New Zealand are concerned is very vital.
AR: Thanks Mark for your views.
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