New Zealand v England, 2nd Test, Wellington, 1st day March 14, 2013

Didn't start well in favourable conditions - Southee

Tim Southee has blamed New Zealand's insipid new-ball bowling in Wellington on the first day as the major reason why the home side are facing another long stint in the field, after Brendon McCullum had stuck to his pre-match promise of bowling first.

Having sent down 170 overs in the second innings in Dunedin to try and force a victory, they had only two scalps to their credit after another 90 overs of toil. With Jonathan Trott unbeaten on 121 and Kevin Pietersen on 18, another hefty stint in the field will test New Zealand's resolve.

"It was a tough day. I don't think we started particularly well with the new ball in favourable conditions, and the little period after lunch wasn't great either," Southee said. "There was a little in it early and I don't think we used that to our advantage. We were chasing it from there. But between that we showed patches where we managed to dry up [the runs], and if we'd grabbed a couple of wickets, it could have been a different story."

New Zealand's quicks bowled 114 overs between them in the second innings at University Oval, and were given a very gentle time of it between matches with almost no bowling on the warm-up days. After the early success of removing Alastair Cook, there was no further joy for the seamers, and it was left to Bruce Martin, the left-arm spinner, to tie up an end and eventually remove Nick Compton for 100, which ended a second-wicket stand of 210.

Southee added that backing up after long spells in the field was something bowlers had to be prepared for. "It's part of Test cricket and you almost have to enjoy it," he said. "It's tough, but it can be very satisfying when you get the rewards. The bodies have recharged and we are ready to go again. It's a big day tomorrow and it's [all] about enjoying it."

Yet, while England's total of 267 for 2 suggests that there was only one decision a captain should have made at the toss, Jonathan Trott confirmed that they would have likely taken the same approach. "I think we would have done the same. Alastair is probably very lucky, or very happy, that it didn't land on heads."

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • CricketingStargazer on March 15, 2013, 7:54 GMT

    Today's play has proved both captains right: there was something in the pitch. On Day 1 the New Zealand bowlers used the pitch poorly, did not make the batsmen play and just wasted their strength a lot. On day 2, 11 wickets have fallen for 264 runs, which shows the possibilities.

  • dummy4fb on March 14, 2013, 18:02 GMT

    The England batting lineup is as good as you will find in Test cricket right now - the top four all average 49-50 and Bell and Prior in the mid 40's. It should be no surprise the NZ bowlers are finding it tough out there!! Regardless of how much 'a road' this pitch is once again in this match, a young developing bowling unit up against a proven test batting lineup should be expected to favour of the former on most occasions. Off-cutters, leg-cutters, slower balls - NZ will need to make full use of these if they are to even slightly trouble England's batsmen tomorrow...

  • Snick_To_Backward_Point on March 14, 2013, 11:08 GMT

    SCoreboard pressure is a strange beast and can wreak all sorts of mischief on 'flat tracks'. I feel, having watched the first session, that Southee is being honest in his assessment - they didn't get as much out of that first session as they should have done. Barring some catastophy or the weather playing a significant role, I fully expect a resounding victory for England now. I feel this because Monty should find more assistance from this pitch than the last.