Cricket: Juicier deck won't bother NZ

By Daniel Richardson

The Black Caps celebrate a wicket during the first test against England in Dunedin. Photo /Getty Images
The Black Caps celebrate a wicket during the first test against England in Dunedin. Photo /Getty Images

New Zealand bowling coach Shane Bond and batsman Kane Williamson are embracing the prospect of a wicket with more life in it when the second test against England gets under way at the Basin Reserve on Thursday.

The first ANZ test produced a draw on a dour University Oval wicket in Dunedin last week, although England were bowled out for 167 in their first innings on day two after the opening day's play was lost to rain.

From there New Zealand made 460-9 declared in their first dig and England saved the match as they made 420-6 in their second innings.

The wicket isn't expected to be a bowler's paradise in Wellington, though, as a heavy diet of first-class cricket at the Basin this summer means there will be less pace and seam movement than usual.

In recent years the Wellington ground has been one of the best test venues in the country as it offers pace and bounce for the bowlers without giving them too much of an advantage over the batsmen.

"God I'd hope so," was Bond's response when asked today (tues) if he would like to see some life in the Basin Reserve pitch.

"It was a bowler's graveyard in the first game. I think 160 in the first innings, it certainly wasn't a 160-wicket. I think generally you'd win the toss and bat down there and try and get a big score and we were just good enough and they weren't good enough on the first day. That 160 was sort of an anomaly and I think the wicket was too flat, really. I still back our bowlers on a wicket that does a bit. In terms of winning test matches our best chance is to play on wickets that offer some assistance to the bowlers, particularly the quick bowlers. I'm hoping to see a bit of that here."

New Zealand are likely to use an unchanged bowling quartet - seamers Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Neil Wagner with spinner Bruce Martin completing the line-up.

Bond said his seamers had spent the past couple of days resting after a huge workload in the first test.

Williamson, who scored a memorable century for New Zealand to salvage a draw against a rampant South African side at the Basin Reserve a year ago, said despite being a batsman he was keen to see more juice in the deck.

"We want results and we know we have to play well no matter what the wicket and we have to play better than the English side to get that result, which is the challenge we are faced with and the one we are looking forward to," the 22-year-old said.

"So hopefully we can come out and put in a strong first innings, whether that's with bat or ball and take that momentum through the five days."

Williamson said the Basin Reserve pitch usually provided a good contest between bat and ball.

"There's always a bit of bounce and pace here at Wellington, which will certainly suit their bowlers and our bowlers will enjoy it a little bit more too."

Following the match in Wellington the series moves north to Auckland for the third and final test next week.

- APNZ

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