Cricket: Patience key on low, slow pitches for Black Caps

Black Cap Kane Williamson. Photo / Andrew Warner
Black Cap Kane Williamson. Photo / Andrew Warner

Patience is the word being bandied about by New Zealand as they prepare for the first of their two tests against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo starting tomorrow night.

New Zealand know the Zimbabweans are capable in their own conditions.

Adjusting to the anticipated, slow, sluggish pitches will be important if new test captain Kane Williamson's inaugural series in charge is to provide a winning note.

"The conditions are low and slow compared to what we have back home and we need to adjust to it," opener Tom Latham said yesterday.

"It is about [being] patient and playing the long game.

"You are not going to go and blast quick runs over here. So, it's about the patience game, and wear the bowlers down, and bat for a day or four sessions, and that is probably the biggest thing for the whole batting group."

The test will be New Zealand's first since February 2016, but Latham said that the side drew confidence from the warm-up match against Zimbabwe A in Harare, where the visitors surged to a 259-run victory.

Before that, the team spent time at a training camp organised by former New Zealand player Kruger van Wyk at the University of Pretoria's High Performance Centre, the home to CSA's National Academy.

"That's the beauty of coming over nice and early. Certainly a beneficial couple of weeks for us," Latham said.

Latham is also looking forward to Williamson's first test series in charge.

"[Williamson] is a very switched-on guy and certainly leads from the front with his batting.

"He has had enough experience throughout his career and I'm sure he is going to do a fantastic job."

Zimbabwe was dealt a major blow when fast bowler Tendai Chatara was ruled out of both games with an ankle injury.

Chatara is the second seamer to miss out after Tinashe Panyangara failed to recover from a back problem. Uncapped seamer Michael Chinouya has been called up as a replacement.

Chatara's injury has robbed Zimbabwe of all experience in their seam attack. Njabulo Ncube and Donald Tiripano have only played a test each and Taurai Muzarabani, who replaced Panyangara, is uncapped in the longest format.

- NZ Herald

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