New Zealand in Sri Lanka 2012-13 November 30, 2012

Southee, Boult biggest positives for New Zealand

New Zealand's marks out of 10, for the Test series against Sri Lanka

Tim Southee (12 wickets at 13.83, 55 runs)

Could this be Tim Southee's break out series? In Galle he swung the ball so mightily most of Sri Lanka's top batsmen couldn't get near it. At the P Sara, there wasn't much swing to be had, but his wrist position ensured he gleaned every inch of movement available, and his line kept testing the batsmen's technique. Often sharp, always hungry, on this series' evidence he can be an effective spearhead for New Zealand in the years to come. The challenge for him now, is to produce this type of performance consistently.

Trent Boult (9 wickets at 15.11)

Didn't quite achieve Southee's movement in the air, but Trent Boult will know he contributed significantly to his partner's success, and the team's victory, through the pressure he created. As good as his figures are, they don't quite do justice to his effect on the series. He was the most disciplined seam bowler from both teams and his effort never dipped, even with the old ball. New Zealand would do well to continue investing in him.

Ross Taylor (243 runs at 60.75)

A poor first Test, but a stellar second. Taylor seemed to have completely retooled his approach to batting at the P Sara, and reaped 216 runs there as a result. Often over aggressive against spin, he did not hit a boundary off the spinners until after he had reached his hundred in the first innings, and hit two fours in total in his second innings 74. His captaincy has been under scrutiny for some time now, but he epitomised New Zealand's desperation to end their losing streak, and has perhaps earned some respite from his detractors.

Kane Williamson (163 runs at 40.75)

Williamson is most naturally capable player of spin bowling in the New Zealand side, and he certainly played spin well during his first innings 135 at the P Sara. He picked Rangana Herath and Suraj Randiv early, and was unruffled when the runs were not forthcoming. He must become more consistent in the months to come, having only scored one fifty since his match-saving ton against South Africa in March, but for this series at least, he has performed admirably. Gets an added point for snatching two of the finest catches any gully fielder will take.

Daniel Flynn (126 runs at 31.50)

One trying fifty in the first match, and the only batsman who had any idea how to play Rangana Herath effectively in the third innings there. He backed that up another solid half-century to consolidate on Taylor's stand with Williamson in the second Test. Perhaps not the most talented batsmen in the side, but one who is willing to show the application that might see him become a successful batsman at the Test level.

Brendon McCullum (120 runs at 30.00)

A defiant half-century in the first innings in Galle, and a belligerent 35 in the second innings in Colombo when New Zealand were after quick runs were McCullum's contributions to the series. He was the victim of a poor lbw decision in one innings, and played an unnecessary stroke to have himself caught at deep midwicket in another. All in all, not a bad series for him, though he knows he must increase his output with the bat now that he is a specialist batsman in Tests.

Jeetan Patel (4 wickets at 36)

Was rarely a wicket-taking threat, highlighted by a wicketless fourth innings in Colombo, as his side was chasing victory. There was no obvious flaw in his game, save the fact that there simply was not enough turn to trouble good players of spin bowling. With Daniel Vettori's powers on the wane, Patel has an opportunity to embed himself in the side as the long-term spinner, but he has so far not taken it. He did not allow easy runs however, and at times, built on the pressure the seam bowlers created.

Todd Astle (1 wicket at 97, 38 runs at 19)

Not a terrible debut given that he did contribute to the victory, but he was also largely ineffective with the ball, save for one ripper of a delivery that dismissed Prasanna Jayawardene on day five. He was guilty of too many full tosses and long hops, even for a rookie legspinner, but he did make a good 35 in New Zealand's second innings, after three wickets had fallen in four balls and a collapse looking likely.

Doug Bracewell (2 wickets at 79.5)

He is yet to live up to the promise of Hobart, and as the pitches have not been particularly conducive to seam movement in Sri Lanka, he has struggled to penetrate. Bowled a few spells with good energy, but didn't sustain it long enough to make a breakthrough. He did remove Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara on the fourth evening in Colombo (though Sangakkara's dismissal was more a result of good fortune than skill), but was back to being less effective the following day.

Kruger van Wyk (41 at 13.66, 4 catches)
A pair in the second Test does not bode well for his future in the side, and BJ Watling, who has been impressive in limited-overs cricket, may get a recall to the Test side for New Zealand's tour of van Wyk's native South Africa. His keeping was sharp however, and no chances went down on his watch despite the low bounce in Galle in particular.

Martin Guptill (39 at 9.75)

Was rested for the ODI leg so that he could be fresh for the Tests, but could not get beyond 13 in any of his four innings. He had plundered runs at the beginning of the year, but seems short of confidence, and has a number of technical issues to correct as well. Gains half a point for his fielding and a good diving slip catch to dismiss Angelo Mathews in the first innings in Colombo.

James Franklin (5 runs at 2.5, 1 wicket at 31)

Awful first Test for him, after which he was dropped for Astle. Made a painstaking 3 from 43 balls in the first innings before being stumped for 2 in the second. His biggest contribution was the removal of Mathews in Sri Lanka's first innings.

Andrew Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Paul on December 2, 2012, 21:05 GMT

    What! How does a senior batsman like McCullum score a pass mark (and surely 5.5 out of 10 is a pass) with 120 runs at 30? I love these articles, but they should calibrate them with 5/10 being a pass mark, ie did his job, nothing more, nothing less, probably won't be dropped, but needs more to continue in the job - for a top order batsman that should be an average of 45+.

  • Dru on December 2, 2012, 14:00 GMT

    I would give McCallum 4.5 and Southee 9-5 and he was absolutely sensational. Boult was excellent and a great prospect. NZ got caught out in the first test whcih they played without a single warm up game a three test should be a minimum for these series to have any meaning.

  • Jacob on December 2, 2012, 3:56 GMT

    I thought Southee and Boult were fantastic, they complement each other almost perfectly. As for the others, I didn't have too much issues considering we did win a test. Franklin needs to go, I don't think he has the mentality to survive in test cricket, even though his style of play in ODI's and T20's do seem to suggest that he SHOULD do well in tests. He plays himself into a hole at times when he's nervous and he can't seem to get himself out, as we saw with that 40-something-ball 3. I think Bracewell needs to spend some time in 4 day cricket and bowl himself back into form, he's been out of form since after his Hobart performance, and his average has dipped. I'm actually happy to continue with van Wyk as keeper, as long as he doesn't bat higher than 7. I'd rather a full-time keeper who can take all his catches than a part-time one who can make a few more runs. But Watling deserves a chance in team so I would have him play as batsman in the top 6, probably at Franklin's 6 spot.

  • Drew on December 2, 2012, 2:55 GMT

    Im being realistic that they wont wanna shuffle that lineup a smuch as you guys think.

    Ideal squad for me. 1.Guptill 2.McCullum 3.Williamson 4.Taylor (c) 5. Flynn 6.Ryder 7.Watling (wk) 8.Vettori/Wagner 9.Bracewell 10.Southee 11.Boult

    Cachopa, van Wyk, Martin, Patel as spares. Based on form you might want to reward Bruce Martin too

    You wont beat that lineup.

  • Kevin on December 1, 2012, 23:20 GMT

    If Astle only bowled one good ball, obviously I was watching another game. He ripped the ball past the outside edge quite a few times. Bracewell should be dropped, bring in Milne. Wagner no way. Franklin should be replaced by a batsman. Jesse Ryder could probably also bowl better than Franklin in all honesty! But regardless of the team NZ pick, SA will be very very tough.

  • Chay on December 1, 2012, 12:39 GMT

    @Maccanui What are you on abou with Franklin?

    He's been on the international scene for 11 years now, face up to the facts. He is not good enough, he never was and never will be. Nice guy but international cricket is not for him. I'm absolutely flabergasted that we've picked him as often as we have.

  • Chay on December 1, 2012, 12:33 GMT

    @RobTay14 and why do we need plenty of runs from our number 7? Happy for Watling to play as a batsman, no need to replace Van Wyk. If anyone goes for the South African tour, surely Guptil is top of the list?

  • kd on December 1, 2012, 9:32 GMT

    this has to be NZs test side Guptill, Watling, Williamson, Taylor, Ryder, McCullam, Vettori/Astle, Bracewell, Southee, Boult, Wagner, others in the squad Carl Cachopa, flynn,Patel,

  • Robert on December 1, 2012, 5:38 GMT

    I too think Ryder needs to come in, probably for Guptill, and BJ in for Van Wyk. He is a great keeper, but unfortunately we also need runs.

    This young pace attack is very exciting for the country too!

  • Guy on December 1, 2012, 5:16 GMT

    As an Australian keeping an eye on this series with a view to the SL tour a few questions: what's happened to Dean Brownlie, is he injured? Has McCullum made a decision to give up the gloves to help his batting, or due to injuries, and is there any chance he'd take them back? I rate Ross Taylor as a batsman but does he really embrace the captaincy, and is it affecting his batting? Are there any other captaincy options? @jplterrors - I assume you're joking about Franklin? Right? I hope so. Perhaps a good NZ XI would look like: Guptill, Flynn (not sure about this, just going on the posts here), Williamson, Taylor, Ryder/Brownlie, McCullum (wk), Vettori, Bracewell, Southee, Boult, another bowler.

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