Cricket: Intrigue surrounds state of Hamilton pitch

By David Leggat in Christchurch

New Zealand opening batsman Jeet Raval on his way to 36 not out at Hagley Oval yesterday. Photo / Photosport
New Zealand opening batsman Jeet Raval on his way to 36 not out at Hagley Oval yesterday. Photo / Photosport

Intrigue surrounds the state of the Seddon Park pitch for Friday's second test in Hamilton.

The seamers had conditions to suit at Hagley Oval in Christchurch and New Zealand were well worth their eight-wicket win over Pakistan yesterday.

Indeed, New Zealand seam quartet Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Neil Wagner and man of the match Colin de Grandhomme shared all 20 Pakistan wickets as they rushed their side to victory inside three days.

Last season, Seddon Park was bouncy but uneven for the test against Sri Lanka and even captain Kane Williamson, a Northern Districts man, wouldn't commit himself on what's likely to be produced.

"It will do a bit at some point. It's tough to say," he said last night.

"At times, we've had one that spun a little bit later on, we've had one that's been perhaps a little bit up and down, but all of them have been fair surfaces and brought all different skill sets into it."

If it's grassy and helps the seamers once again, Pakistan's stand-in captain Azhar Ali won't be surprised.

He has no beef with whatever is served up.

His argument is that you get what you're given by the hosts and you get on with it.

That said, Azhar, who hit a triple century three tests ago against the West Indies, reckoned Hagley Oval was a more seam friendly surface than any Pakistan encountered on their recent tour of England " and perhaps the most challenging he'd played on in his international career.

"No pitch was like this in England. Obviously it swings around, but not as much grass as that. But that's the pitch we got to play on and New Zealand played better than us," he said.

Williamson took particular heart from New Zealand's performance against a notably good travelling team.

Pakistan haven't played a test at home for seven years due to terrorism incidents.

However, they are well versed in competing in overseas conditions.

"They tour very well, that's why they're No 2 and they're able to beat sides in all conditions.

"At the same time, [after] a couple of really tough tours in South Africa and India, it was important we learned a lot, but at the same time put some of that baggage away and try and focus on what we needed to do here and I think that was the most pleasing thing," said Williamson.

- NZ Herald

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