May 5, 2003

Oram delighted with contribution as Kiwis battle at Kandy

Jacob Oram was delighted with his first major contribution with the bat in Test cricket on the third day of the second Test in Kandy.

Oram scored a career best 74, sharing crucial partnerships with Mark Richardson and Robbie Hart, as New Zealand scored a respectable 305.

"It is nice to get a first milestone although I would have liked to got a hundred," he said afterwards. "It was tough against world-class bowlers in different conditions but I really enjoyed it.

"At 75 for 4 we were in a bit of trouble and it was a matter of getting a partnership going, so I was more than happy to just bide my time."

Normally renowned for playing big shots, Oram believes he needed "to put his end in the bin and put the shots away" to survive.

"I like to hit the ball hard and see the boundaries but you can't do that every innings. I have been more consistent back home in first-class cricket being a bit more circumspect."

Oram, 24, enjoyed the challenge of facing the world's leading spinner, Muttiah Muralitharan, who claimed 3 for 90 in 34 overs.

"I did not want to die in the hole to Murali, which can happen if you just sit and wait, because sooner or later he is going to bowl you an unplayable delivery - I therefore used the sweep as an option."

Oram said New Zealand were still hopeful of forcing a win: "It is a matter of us getting early wickets tomorrow and then trying to progress as much as we can with the bat before a final day declaration."