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'Keep going in tough times' - Southee commends quicks for doing the job at blustery Basin Reserve

New Zealand bowled 208.5 overs, and had to contend with extreme conditions on the final day, to complete an innings victory

Blair Tickner celebrates with his team-mates, New Zealand vs Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, 4th day, Wellington, March 20, 2023

New Zealand won the series 2-0 to end their Test season  •  AFP/Getty Images

There were strong winds that blew deliveries off course and forced broadcast staff to abandon their posts at the Adelaide End, middle-order batters that fought back, and tailenders who resisted for hours.
Through all that, New Zealand's bowlers "kept on coming", said captain Tim Southee. New Zealand had bowled 66.5 overs in the first innings, and then, having enforced the follow-on, ended up delivering 142 more - a total of 208.5 overs.
And despite Monday's conditions, which were extreme even for Basin Reserve, where strong winds frequently affect play, New Zealand still completed their innings victory, to seal the series 2-0.
"We've had a few follow-ons, and you're preparing yourself to possibly be out in the field for a long time," Southee said. "It was great to have the guys want the ball in their hand, and wanting to keep coming in. Guys putting up their hand up to bowl into the wind. I think of Blair Tickner's spell early in the day, to come into the wind, and to get the two guys out early was massive and set up the day. Doug Bracewell coming in after a long period of time and wanting to bowl into the wind. The guys just kept on coming. That's a characteristic of the side - to keep going in tough times.
"She was pretty blustery out there. Not pleasing conditions to be out there in. I can't remember too many times when the camera was taken down. It just shows the sheer force of the winds and the gusts that were out there today. Some horrible conditions at times. The guys just managed to find a way to get the job done."
With the Basin Reserve surface having flattened out, New Zealand peppered the opposition with short balls - Tickner started the day with a bouncer barrage that dismissed the overnight pairing of Kusal Mendis and Angelo Mathews, who on the previous tour had batted out an entire fourth day at this venue to save a Test.
This time, however, they were both out in the opening exchanges of day four, out trying to take on the short ball. Sri Lanka had ended the third day 113 for 2, but were 116 for 4 pretty quickly.
"It's been a pleasing few months in the whites. A number of guys have stepped up. We've won from different positions, and have shown character to bounce back from a loss at Mount Maunganui. It's nice for Test cricket to be ticking along"
Tim Southee
"It was a pretty slow surface," Southee said. "The ball was 40 overs old, and we had Matt Henry at the other end bowling more traditional lengths, and we thought Blair bowling short was our best chance to get a couple of early wickets and it came off today."
This was New Zealand's fourth Test in fairly quick succession, after having finished a two-Test series against England not long before Sri Lanka arrived. At the end of a big bowling effort, Southee paid tribute to New Zealand's endurance over their Test season.
"The guys are all a bit weary after a busy wee while," he said. "Test cricket isn't easy. The guys were a bit heavy in the legs, but very pleased to have this game wrapped up.
"There's a lot of character shown throughout the home summer, and also in Pakistan as well, which is a tough place to go. We got ourselves in positions to win both of those Pakistan matches as well. It's been a pleasing few months in the whites. A number of guys have stepped up. We've won from different positions, and have shown character to bounce back from a loss at Mount Maunganui [against Bangladesh]. It's nice for Test cricket to be ticking along."

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