All square in the Latham family
There are no longer bragging rights in the Latham household. In his fifth Test, Tom Latham scored his maiden hundred and was quietly looking forward to have a chat with his father, Rod
There are no longer bragging rights in the Latham household. In his fifth Test, Tom Latham scored a maiden hundred and was quietly looking forward to having a chat with his father, Rod, sometime on Wednesday morning. He might have had to resist pretty hard from dropping him a line in the middle of the night.
Rod Latham scored his first, and only, Test hundred in his second match, against Zimbabwe in 1992, but would go on to play just two more matches. Tom's appearance against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi took him ahead of his father's tally of caps, and now he has equalled the tally of hundreds.
"I'll probably Skype him in the morning but he's always been on about how he holds a Test hundred against me. So now we've both got one which is nice," he said. "It's pretty special, it's something me and him will have together."
Latham's milestone made it the third father-son combination scoring Test hundreds for New Zealand following Walter and Richard Hadlee and Ken and Hamish Ruthreford. The century for Rutherford jr, on debut against England in Dunedin, has proved a false dawn for him, so far at least, with his subsequent 24 innings bringing just one fifty and he was dropped following a lean time in the West Indies.
The opening berths have been problematic for New Zealand to fill on a consistent basis for a long time: as if to emphasise the point, the opening stand of 31 between Latham and Brendon McCullum was their best for 14 innings since Ruthreford and Peter Fulton, who was also dropped after the Caribbean tour, added 95 against West Indies in Dunedin. They have had four hundred opening stands since June 2004.
There is the hope that Latham, who made three fifties against West Indies earlier this year, can prove half the answer to the puzzle after a successful switch to opening the batting in domestic cricket for the first time since his school days.
"I haven't done it a huge amount," he said. "Last year was my first full season opening and I've enjoyed the change. I did it throughout my school so it was unfamiliar and I'm really happy at the top.
"There was a little bit of relief. In West Indies I had three half-centuries in a row and it was frustrating not to kick on so it's nice in the first innings of the next Test to achieve that milestone. It gives you a bit of confidence that you are up to playing at this level."
Still, despite the efforts of Latham, who was eventually pinned lbw for 103 by a yorker from Rahat Ali, New Zealand face a huge task to try and save the game with Pakistan leading by 319 runs having declined to enforce the follow-on and opt for the same route which crushed Australia.
"They put runs on the board and put us under pressure but we have a massive opportunity in the next two days to turn that around and this side has a lot of character," Latham said.