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

Cricket: Bracewell shows maturity

Doug Bracewell. Photo / Getty Images
Doug Bracewell. Photo / Getty Images

Doug Bracewell is often tagged as a bowling all-rounder but he hasn't lived up to that label in the international arena yet.

There was a patient 20 not out against South Africa in March last year as he saved a test alongside Kane Williamson at the Basin Reserve but too often Bracewell's batting doesn't complement his bowling exploits.

Heading in to this week's test against Bangladesh in Chittagong, the 23-year-old had nine ducks from 30 innings and averaged only 10.39 with the bat.

Those numbers are different to his first-class statistics where he averages a shade under 23 and has racked up eight 50s and a lone century.

Bracewell's ability to contribute with the bat will be crucial if he wants to hold his place in the New Zealand test side in the future.

Given the rise of Northern Districts left-armer Trent Boult plus the ongoing development of Tim Southee, Bracewell needs to do something to keep himself in the selection frame.

Since the highs of bowling New Zealand to victory over Australia in Hobart in December 2011, Bracewell's stock has fluctuated as a test bowler; he's only taken three wickets in an innings once since last August.

Coming in at No 9 on day two of the first test against Bangladesh yesterday, Bracewell played with the right balance of maturity and aggression, considering New Zealand were floundering at 282-7 following a tough start to the day.

He then combined with BJ Watling (103) to put on 57 runs for the eighth wicket, which helped propel the visitors to their eventual first innings total of 469.

Bracewell likes to free the arms and he prefers to score at a rapid rate but with New Zealand in trouble when he came to the crease his runs were valuable.

He was undone by the off-spin of Sohag Gazi for 29 but it was the manner in which he scored his runs that should provide hope.

He didn't go out and flay the bat like Southee tends to do and although Bracewell's decision to try to flick a straight one to the onside led to his dismissal, his partnership with Watling was vital in the context of the game.

New Zealand began the morning poorly when they lost nightwatchman Bruce Martin and debutant Corey Anderson as both players made only one.

Following Bracewell and Watling's rescue mission, Ish Sodhi came and went and also scored one before Watling found an unlikely ally in No 11 Boult (52 not out) as the pair added a remarkable 127 for the final wicket.

Their partnership drove the home side in to the turf as their spirit was clearly deflated as they struggled to nab the final wicket.

Boult's knock was his maiden half-century in all forms of top-level cricket and came at a handy time.


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