Vettori laments 'familiar' batting collapse
Daniel Vettori berated New Zealand for a familiar batting collapse on the third evening in Seddon Park, as the hosts crumbled to 110, handing Pakistan a 10-wicket victory. New Zealand lost their top six batsmen for 25 runs within the space of an hour, falling prey to excellent spells from Wahab Riaz and Abdur Rehman.
"I think we fought pretty hard in the morning to give ourselves a chance to come back into the game," Vettori said, after New Zealand bowled Pakistan out for 367 in their first innings. "The three seam bowlers had to work pretty hard throughout, but then to let it all slip with a familiar batting performance in the third innings leaves a really sour taste."
The match had been well poised at the tea break, with New Zealand 59 runs in arrears and all their wickets in hand before they capitulated catastrophically in what turned out to be the final session of the Test. The hosts lost ten wickets for 74 runs and Vettori blamed poor decision making for the collapse. "You need to make good decisions in Test cricket. There were four or five today, run outs, rash shots, bad decision-making and it all adds up to being bowled out for 110." Ross Taylor was run out attempting an ill-advised single, while Tim McIntosh, Martin Guptill and Reece Young all fell to injudicious strokes.
Vettori claimed that despite the woeful performance, there was enough talent in the top order to justify their places in the team. "Brendon's obviously been outstanding since he became an opener and Timmy McIntosh got a 100 two Test matches ago. There's been some good performances from everyone in that top six, but we are just going to have to become more consistent."
Vettori also said that he and coach John Wright had already reproached the side for the collapse and expressed a desire to bid farewell to batting efforts like today's. "You have to look pretty closely at your own performance. [John Wright] and myself have spoken to the team and there were a lot of harsh words. Wrighty stated quite emphatically that things have to change, you can't keep putting those performances together. He wants to be part of the change and obviously I do too, so it's got to start at the base."
Pakistan's bowling in the second innings should also be given credit, Vettori said, after Wahab stunned New Zealand with an exhibition of brilliant fast bowling with a tailing ball, while Rehman bowled a tight line as he had done throughout the match. "Riaz in particular came in, bowled a ten over spell and really gave them the impetus to come hard at us."
The match wasn't completely devoid of positives for Vettori however as he reserved praise for Tim Southee, who bowled 32 nagging overs in the first innings at an economy rate of 2.56, for two wickets. "I thought this was [Southee's] most impressive Test match performance. It was a flat wicket and for him to come in and bowl so much and so consistently was what we've really been looking for from Tim. He could have easily taken five or six wickets the way he bowled. He batted well in the first innings too, so it was a pretty good Test match and those are the performances that we expect of him, particularly with his talent."
Reece Young too, received plaudits from his captain on debut, after a tidy performance behind the stumps. "He looked composed with the gloves and with the bat. He'll obviously want to go on with the bat and get some runs, but I thought he looked pretty good."
Vettori allayed fears about his own health, stating that he expects to make a full recovery after he had been ill on day two, seeming sapped of energy in the outfield. There were also reports that he had undergone blood tests for various diseases. "I feel a lot better today, all my results have come back clear. I need a couple of days' rest but I'll be alright for the Basin Reserve."