Sri Lanka in New Zealand 2015-16 January 8, 2016

Boult back at optimum, says Mascarenhas

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Trent Boult was at his incisive best in the first T20 against Sri Lanka © Getty Images

Trent Boult's bowling is once again "pretty special", with the bowler having recovered from the back complaints that plagued him during the Australia tour, New Zealand bowling coach Dimitri Mascarenhas has said. Boult had been rested for much of the ODI series against Sri Lanka, but took 3 for 43 in the fifth one-dayer, then 3 for 21 in the first T20, in his home-province ground of Mount Maunganui. Boult's performance in Thursday earned him a Man-of-the-Match award.

There had been concerns about Boult's form even during the Tests against Sri Lanka, in which he appeared significantly diminished since New Zealand's last home summer. Having recently been one of the fittest bowlers in the pace battery, Boult's speeds had regularly begun to dip into the mid-120kph range.

Mascarenhas believes Boult is now back to near his best, following that brief break from the side. "Trent had a tough time in Australia and since then - he's a world class bowler and he knows what he needs to do to get back to his best, and he has done that," he said. "He has overcome his injury, he has worked really hard and he's reaping some really good rewards now, which is great to see."

Boult had delivered a vital 17th over on Thursday, with Sri Lanka threatening to run down New Zealand's 182 for 4. He conceded only three runs in that over, and also claimed the scalp of Milinda Siriwardana, who had led Sri Lanka's surge. Mitchell McClenaghan also bowled a six-run penultimate over, and Grant Elliott defended 13 runs from the final over, to complete a three-run win.

"It looked as though it could be getting away from us right at the end," Mascarenhas said. "They only needed 35 off 24 balls. In T20 standards that's pretty easy, with the size of the boundaries and the size of the bats. But Mitchell McClenaghan and Trent Boult at the end were brilliant in their last couple of overs. And for Grant Elliott to finish off like he did was good."

New Zealand had appeared to be headed for a comfortable victory when they had Sri Lanka 42 for 4, before Siriwardana, with help from Danushka Gunathilaka and Thisara Perera, revived the chase. Mascarenhas suggested New Zealand should be prepared for more such comebacks.

"As we saw with the Sri Lankans, they are going to come hard from start to finish and I think that is going to be the theme moving forward going into the World T20," he said. "All the teams bat deep so we have to be aware that if you have a team five down they are not just going to roll over and die. We are going to have to fight really hard."

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Anji100 on January 9, 2016, 19:06 GMT

    Highly overrated fast bowler Bolt & Southee, It wasn't the talent yet really lucky to get wicket in almost wide deliveries, Very poor batting from SL top players on all occasions. Lets see what they will do in sub continent pitches.. currently they poorly perform in their home green pitches. If NZ highly depends on them in coming T20 then sorry to say NZ will not come to semi final for sure in sub continent soil. There was great Vitory to save them in past but I can't see any good spinner in their team too. Sub continent batsmen with thrive on these pace attack.. NZ must fine pace off bowlers and they should do it very quick...

  • johnthekiwi on January 9, 2016, 14:19 GMT

    What insulting drivel this is. Three wickets in a slog fest? By that reckoning Elgar was Underwood after Mohali. I played and have watched cricket for over 40 years. Through the miracle of modern communications I can pretty much watch any delivery bowled at the test. odi and 20/20 level anywhere in the world and so can a heck of a lot of other people. Boult isn't anywhere near where he needs to be to pose a threat to the Aussies and pretending he is won't make it so. When you watch as much baseball as I do you know when a guy is missing something off his fastball or his curve isn't crisp. The same thing applies in cricket. He is ailing and no matter the short term consequences he needs to be shut down to get himself right. Oz know they need Starc back to be #1. NZ will be lucky to be in the top 5 without a fully functional Boult.

  • Alex Ward on January 9, 2016, 14:13 GMT

    Donald, bond, mascarenhas. Spot the odd one out

  • SamRoy on January 9, 2016, 13:29 GMT

    Dimi Mascarenhas never knew how to bowl medium pace as well. What on earth is he doing as bowling coach? Even a Dion Nash or Chris Martin will be a better bowling coach.

  • StevieS on January 8, 2016, 22:32 GMT

    carlwhyte because those bowlers are swing bowlers and grew up with green wickets so their bowling is suited to those types of wickets, Australian wickets are generally dry fast and bouncy but offer little swing. There was a reason why Australia didn't play a test vs NZ in Hobart as those conditions are similar to NZ and remember what happened last time NZ played a test there. Adelaide was similar with grass left on and night conditions and it was a close game, Boult was and still is terribly out of form and has lost at least 5km of pace since his back injury, if he was at or near his best I would bet my house we would of won in Adelaide. Why not talk about Australian batsman when the ball is either swinging or spinning, the legend Smith looks like a village cricketer.

  • kiwicricketnut on January 8, 2016, 20:48 GMT

    @ CARLWHYTE, why all those legendary bowlers fail in australia is the same reason all those legendary batsmen fail in our conditions. I'm not buying that boult is back to his best, you can see it but at least he's on the up, lets hope he's fully fit by the time Aussie arrive because I think he has a point to prove after such a poor tour of australia.

  • SL_Boy on January 8, 2016, 20:22 GMT

    Excellent fight from SL team, I new it is going to be very tight ... with bit of short selection at the end ... Sirwardana become a world trend, with Malinga, Kusal and Prasad this will be a excellent team. I dont see any place for Chandi in T20.

  • motorbreath on January 8, 2016, 19:54 GMT

    I dont agree with Masceranhas regarding Boults form. Before the back injury his pace and swing was getting near unplayable at times. Also Southees form has dipped considerably. Matt Henry is the form NZ bowler at the moment, that much is obvious. The sooner NZC regain the services of Shane Bond the better. Santner looks to be a great talent, hopefully will develop into a great allrounder. Looking forward to seeing Aamir firing his lightning bolts and seeing how our Black Caps cope. Memories of the Wasim and Waqar days of literally knocking batsmen over still send chills down the spine. Exciting times! Welcome back to international cricket Aamir

  • Crick_Expert on January 8, 2016, 17:54 GMT

    Waiting for Aamir vs Boult: I am fan of NZ team, as NZ is one of the best cricket side at current stage. They provided best players to cricket world is past decade. Doesn't matter who will win, but cricket fans wish to see good cricket. Good luck to both teams.. -A fan from PAK.

  • nzcricket174 on January 8, 2016, 15:12 GMT

    Boult was one reason were so bad in Aus. If he is out of form again this is bad news for us.

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