New Zealand v England, 2nd Test, Wellington March 12, 2013

Windy Wellington poses questions for New Zealand quicks


Shane Bond, the New Zealand bowling coach, said it had yet to be decided which of his bowlers will draw the short straw of needing to bowl into the wind at the Basin Reserve.

The into-the-wind role in Wellington can be unlike any other ground in the world, as gales howl up the Cook Strait and right down the Basin. One of the problems for the current New Zealand side, which is set to retain the same balance of attack, is that the three quicks usually have the wind in their favour in domestic cricket.

"It's an interesting one," Bond said. "All three are strike bowlers in their own right and do a different role for their domestic team, but it's certainly something you have to consider when you come to Wellington - who will do that role.

"All three aren't used to doing it so hopefully we'll get days where it isn't too windy. But it's something you also have to think about when you go back to domestic cricket; bowl some spells into the wind to prepare yourself for this level."

Although one of the quicks will, obviously, have to bowl into whatever wind there is with the new ball, Bond added that later in the day the job will probably be shared between the full set to ensure no one is overburdened.

Bond is confident that the attack can recover from their large workloads in Dunedin. New Zealand's three quicks - Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Neil Wagner - sent down 114 of the 170 overs in England's second innings and will be treated carefully over the next two days.

"We always knew the guys are fit, and can bowl a lot of volume, we just need to make sure they are fresh and ready to go," Bond said. "I thought we bowled our best on day five even after a day in the park. I was pleased with that."

However, Matt Prior suggested the situation was to England's advantage "I'm sure the New Zealand bowlers will be feeling it. Any seamer bowling 40 overs is a mammoth effort. I'd rather have been batting for 170 overs than fielding, let's put it that way."

The standout performance in Dunedin came from Neil Wagner who bagged seven wickets in his first home Test. He bowled 43 overs in the second innings, including an afternoon spell on the final day of 8-2-20-2 that included the wickets of Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen. Bond, an aggressive fast bowler in his day, was hugely impressed with Wagner's stamina.

"That's the one thing I've really enjoyed about working with Neil, that never-say-die attitude, he will always run in," he said. "Even at the back end of the fifth day he was still running in hard after 40 overs, so that's credit to him. When you go in with four bowlers there can certainly be no weak link in the chain in terms of volume."

There are a variety of predictions being made about the pitch for the second Test, ranging from another slow surface that was on show in Dunedin to a surface where the ball will fly through at good pace. What appears to be generally accepted, however, is that the spinners' role will be very much a holding one.

"It was a bowlers' graveyard in the first game, it certainly wasn't a 160 wicket," Bond said. "I'd back our bowlers on wickets that do a bit. In terms of winning Tests that's our best chance, some assistance to the quick bowlers."

Having briefly looked at the pitch on Tuesday, Prior said "it doesn't look a slow one" although two days out from a match is really too early to judge a Test surface. Regardless of the pitch, Prior is aware that another poor first innings will not be tolerated despite the confidence boost England receive in saving the opening Test.

"You can't ignore that first innings," he said. "But then you have to look at the way we kept fighting hard with the ball, and then the way we finished with the bat was sensational. We're becoming a very hard team to beat, but we want to go that one step further and start winning."

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Hugh on March 13, 2013, 8:27 GMT

    Re the comments about Wellington's lack of recent rainfall. That's what they said about Dunedin & look what happened there! Ok, so England batted abysmally in their 1st innings (except for Finn & Anderson) and it showed that New Zealand lack a cutting edge to their attack. Also, New Zealand's record at nthe Basin Reserve isnt great-only 14 wins. As long as England learn the lessons from Dunedin they should be too good for NZ. They were 5 years ago at this venue.

  • justin on March 13, 2013, 3:44 GMT

    @ SamualH It's #8 playing #2, But no one told NZ that in the first test. England will be better this time i'd expect, and we will have to scrap and fight, because that's how we play! Not sure if you saw how Wagner/Boult got the ball to rise on a few of the English batsmen, on a fairly mundane pitch, Atypical Welly wicket will be nice for us too! but we'll just have to agree to disagree on that one mate. Iv'e always thought monty is waay over rated, but i actually can't help but like the guy!

  • Dummy4 on March 12, 2013, 22:21 GMT

    Just an update for the international audience out there - Wellington has not had a drop of rain in 37 days, nor has the wind been up either. The pitch has had a lot of domestic cricket on it in recent weeks and has been fast, bouncy but also rather flat & lacking in seam movement. There could be a little bit of assistance for the seamers early on but it really does look like a bat first pitch, survive the first morning and pile on the runs. Humidity set to be 75% with minimal cloud cover. If anything, I wouldn't want to be batting on the last day. From what I've seen on the domestic scene, this pitch will start turning for the spinners through Sunday/Monday which is unusual for the Basin.

    If I were to offer an unqualified bias opinion - NZ are fortunate to have 3 swing bowlers but as we saw with Morkel last year, pace and bounce may well prove the difference from Finn if NZ can't mitigate that early on.

  • John on March 12, 2013, 22:00 GMT

    I thought New Zealand played just about as well as they could (given the players available) in the first test. I'd be surprised if they could match, let alone exceed, that performance. Engand played horribly for half the game, then got it together somewhat for the second half and escaped- there's no better word for it- with a draw.

    For this game, England needs to play on the first two days as well as the last two. If they do, I think they'll win. If they don't, then I'm sure NZ will be anxious to seize on any weakness.

  • Dummy4 on March 12, 2013, 17:34 GMT

    England are a team of proven performers with the bat and have some talent brewing in the bowling department. NZ is largely a developing team right now but they are going in the right direction - hopefully this team will continue to improve and eventually be seen as a team of very good cricketers with solid records. The real question is can the NZ bowlers stay fit and maintain consistency against this class England batting team, unlike NZ teams of the past?...Time will tell.. I expect the likes of Southee and Boult to get some good swing into the breeze and are both fit individuals so I don't think that can be used as an excuse if they don't perform!

  • Anupam on March 12, 2013, 14:14 GMT

    Tough & challenging matches early in career for Wagner. Eng is lacking 3rd seamer. Broad is the most inconsistent bowler, Onion is out of form (he should get a chance in international matche.). What about expensive dernbach. He bowls with good speed, NZ conditions will suit him. He must be try in test matches. Where is Tremlett still injured? I want to see sky scraper bowling attack of finn, Tremlett, Topley.

  • des on March 12, 2013, 14:09 GMT

    This is shaping up to be an intriguing contest. One team is vastly more talented on paper, and the other has had some disastrous and humiliating defeats in the last year.

    But tests aren't won on paper so England shouldn't be written off just yet.

  • david on March 12, 2013, 13:58 GMT

    not sure that it will suit england anymore then NZ, why would you think that ?

  • Michael on March 12, 2013, 11:36 GMT

    My impression of Wellington is that aside from Boycott's tour in 77-78 when Hadlee shot us out for 64, this a favourable venue for England. On the last tour we easily wrested the advantage back form NZ who had taken a lead in Hamilton, and two of our bowlers from then are still in the side as well as Monty. I would expect good carry, seam movement and swing. England is windy enough place for our guys to know how to bowl into it.

  • Samuel on March 12, 2013, 10:52 GMT

    @slippingsillypoint - isn't that the bare minimum expected from NZ though? Surely after their performance in the last time, they have to aim for more than putting up a fight! Not sure a pacy pitch is the right way to go for them though; I think a wicket with pace & bounce suits England far more than NZ. Not necessarily because England's attack is quicker - aside from Finn, you'd say all the seamers bowl at similar pace, maybe Broad at his best is a couple of kph's quicker - but because they're taller and better placed to extract the bounce from the wicket. I'd be tempted to have a look at Tredwell over Monty myself - harsh to drop Monty on the basis of one poor performance after he hasn't played in a few months, but he really didn't look at it and doesn't really appear to have learned much about bowling on wickets that aren't necessarily conducive to spin. Tredwell has at least got some cricket under his belt by playing in the limited overs stuff in India & New Zealand.

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