World Cup 2015: New Zealand March 17, 2015

'Unusual bounce' the Wellington secret


It is perhaps not the catchiest moniker, but New Zealand are back at Fortress Wellington Regional Stadium - more colloquially known as the 'Cake Tin' - for their quarter-final against West Indies and the secret to their impressive record of 15 wins and seven defeats at the ground is the make-up of what's beneath their feet.

Mike Hesson, the New Zealand coach, talked of an "unusual bounce" which takes opposition teams time to adjust to and makes home advantage even more of a boost. England found that to their cost earlier in the tournament when they were bundled out for 123, although that was as much to do with the swing obtained by Tim Southee than anything odd happening off the 22 yards. Since that match, three innings totals have been in excess of 300, with Sri Lanka chasing down 310 for the loss of one wicket.

There is, though, further recent evidence that New Zealand's attack can exploit the conditions. At the end of January, Pakistan were bowled out for 210 and the previous year they removed India for 216, although between those two matches one was lost to Sri Lanka. There was a period from 2007 to 2011 when New Zealand's bowlers certainly dominated as they bundled out Australia (148), England (130), West Indies (128) and Pakistan (124).

"It's quite an unusual bounce which takes a little while to get used to and we've played enough games there that our guys have adapted to that," Hesson said. "Sides that haven't been there in recent times will need to adjust.

"I don't want to give too much away but it's a different surface, it's a drop-in and it had a big gap underneath it, now it's got some rubble or shingle underneath so it bounces a bit differently than it has in the past. We've had some recent experience of that."

Tim Southee will return to the scene of his 7 for 33 when he faces West Indies in the quarter-final © Associated Press

The figures of Southee at the ground certainly stand out - after his haul against England, he now has 21 wickets at 12.00 from six ODIs. Although he has not bowled poorly since that heady day, his 2 for 65 against Australia at Eden Park was followed by wicketless outings against Bangladesh and Afghanistan, so it is a timely return to a happy hunting ground.

"When you go out on a ground where you've performed well you do feel good about it," Hesson said. "He had great rhythm that day and the ball swung beautifully for him. Let's hope it's a nice still day and he can swing it around corners again."

New Zealand returned to training at a blustery Basin Reserve on Tuesday following a short break after finishing the group stage unbeaten. They will have Wednesday off before a rigorous practice day on Thursday. Hesson continued to be positive about the outlook for Adam Milne who missed the Bangladesh match with a shoulder injury.

However, Hesson certainly will not be taking a break from cricket on Wednesday with a keen eye on the quarter-final between South Africa and Sri Lanka. If New Zealand progress to the semi-final at Eden Park, they will play the winner of that match.

"That's a massive game on our side of the draw," he said. "It'll be interesting in Sydney and winning the toss and batting over there is pretty important if it's going to turn. Most of the support staff will sit down and watch it, some of the players will and some will want to get away and not think about it. They all deal with it a little bit differently. I pretty much watch every ball."

Andrew McGlashan is a senior assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Darrell on March 21, 2015, 5:26 GMT

    Holy moly we lose Williamson and McCullum early and still reach 393, i went to work straight after Kane was dismissed but i missed the best of the best with Guptill applying his magic.

  • Bill on March 19, 2015, 0:33 GMT

    Kane Williamson hit upon the winning formula. He has nice composure at the crease. Same setup everytime. Eyes on the bowler. Eyes on the ball. Gets his body into the best possible position with the split second he has and hits without over hitting or overextending. Nice follow through. Nothing spectacular. Plays within himself. Part of a professional cricketers skill set is getting to grips with the pitch and making whatever slight adjustments are needed. I thought that was standard. No need to do anything outrageous until the situation demands it. I wish others would follow him.

  • Dummy on March 18, 2015, 19:29 GMT

    @ Andre bronze. Dear mostly nz's player even don't need flight on Saturday they 'll go home by local be careful Wi 'll beat nz

  • Stratocaster on March 18, 2015, 19:15 GMT

    @Samroy Not only Hesson but John Wright. He knew the talent was coming and we believed him all along. But results were hard to come by during his reign with Vettori injured and indifferent Mccullum which led to too much responsibility on Taylor's shoulders. And we can see the influence of Shane Bond too on bowling attack. A contract in India, England awaits him maybe.

  • sam on March 18, 2015, 18:36 GMT

    Mike Hesson deserves a lot of praise for bringing McCullum to captaincy and then selecting squads with a vision which has lead in the continuous development of NZ cricket in the last 18 months. The other important thing has been in the last 3-4 years NZ pitches have lost its softness and have become a lot harder (because of the drop-ins) which have helped fast bowlers (not medium pacers) stay relatively injury free. This has resulted in some excellent fast bowlers to develop in Southee, Boult, Henry, Milne. Opposite to WI where all pitches are vicious turners at first class level; so much so batsman can never trust the pitch. Good pitches normally help in creating good cricket teams.

  • Dummy4 on March 18, 2015, 12:47 GMT

    I predict a trashing for West Indies. They will be booking the next flight out. They don't seem too interested in playing anyway.

  • Dummy4 on March 18, 2015, 9:58 GMT

    NZ will win this game comfortably. We may see a good wee knock from Ramdin and a quick fire from Sammy or Holder at the end but the rest of the West Indian batsman will really struggle against such bowling.NZ only need to score 250+ if batting 1st. Good luck to both teams and may the better team make the semi final against a form climbing Proteas side.

  • Dummy4 on March 18, 2015, 8:48 GMT

    @STRATOCASTER ON | MARCH 17, 2015, 12:32 GMT:

    Grounds all over the world seem to have changed over a period of time further favouring batsmen. That includes WI, SA. and OZ. The least change seem to have happened in Eng & NZ.

    When the DNA of the mother changes, the babies conceived later also will have characteristics different from the elder siblings. That is just natural.

  • Dummy4 on March 18, 2015, 8:41 GMT

    Whatever may be the fluctuating form of (and results for) various teams, I still feel the same way, I stated just before the beginning of the tournament. That is, Australia, New Zealand, & South Africa (only in alphabetical order), are the top three contenders.

    My own country India has shown a surprising turnaround (very pleasant turn for the India fans) and squeezed themselves somewhere among the three above. So, as it stands now, that makes the four potential semifinalists.

    India's turn for the better is the only significant changed variable, after the tournament started. Surprises were provided by the Associates, who are going to be unceremoniously discarded in the next round to be played in England.

    Everyone (including players, support staff and non gullible fans) are not taken in by mind games.

  • Android on March 17, 2015, 19:34 GMT

    @Brutalanalyst surely you don't take everything Boycott says seriously. I was at the England demolition and Southee was swinging it late. You don't need 'excessive swing' but enough to beat the bat and Southee did that superbly. You are right that Boult is also swinging it. You need even less swing to clean up Gayle because he doesn't move his feet at all. He was always a stand and deliver player relying on his eye, but plying his trade in every T20 comp has made him even more lazy with one of the worst techniques in world cricket. The atmosphere is going to be massive again at the stadium and right behind New Zealand.

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