Daniel Richardson is a Wellington-based sports journalist for NZME. News Service.

Cricket: Vettori looking at positives

Daniel Vettori says despite their struggles New Zealand have taken plenty from their recent contest. Photo / Getty Images.
Daniel Vettori says despite their struggles New Zealand have taken plenty from their recent contest. Photo / Getty Images.

Daniel Vettori says despite their struggles in the ongoing three-day match against the West Indies Cricket Board President's XI, New Zealand have taken plenty from the contest ahead of this week's first test at the same ground against the West Indies in Antigua.

The WICB president's XI closed day two of the tour match at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium this morning (Sun, NZT) on 299-7, responding to New Zealand's poor first innings total of 149.

Vettori was New Zealand's best bowler. The veteran left-arm spinner claimed 4-48 from 20 overs and said the game had provided his side with a few tough lessons.

"I think we were pretty lucky to play close to the wicket that we're going to play on in the test match," Vettori said.

"If we can't learn stuff from this game then we never will. So I think, whilst we are disappointed with the position we are in, there's been some really good things today. Particularly the bowling of Neil Wagner and I think we're learning a lot as we go along."

Vettori, who hasn't played limited overs cricket for New Zealand in recent times, said it was great to get through a lengthy spell at the crease having not played since the IPL finished at the start of May.

"Once again for me it's just getting some overs under my belt after a considerably long lay-off, and to be able to bowl 20 overs on a wicket that's similar to the test match wicket is hopefully going to hold me in pretty good stead for the test match."

Seamer Chris Martin will have also relished the opportunity to get out and stretch the legs as he got through 17 wicketless overs, but his last game was in March.

The South African-born Wagner, who could make his test debut this week if selected, steamed in and got through 20 overs as he picked up 2-50 and Vettori said he offered a new dimension to the Kiwi attack.

"He was awesome today. He brings a lot of energy. He's a different style of bowler than probably most New Zealanders are used to. He runs in hard all day and wants to compete the whole time and I think he's a welcome addition to our side."

Wagner's effort has likely booked himself a spot as one of the pace bowlers in the first test, while leg-spinner Tarun Nethula struggled during his time at the crease.

New Zealand skipper Ross Taylor said during the past week they were looking at the prospect of playing two tweakers in the first test but Nethula's 20 overs conceded 101 runs on day two and he picked up just one wicket.

The first test gets underway on Thursday. (NZT)


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