Covers sport across NZME's print, digital and radio brands.

Cricket: Boult's left-arm deliveries a key to New Zealand renaissance

New Zealand's Trent Boult. Photo / John Cowpland
New Zealand's Trent Boult. Photo / John Cowpland

The second test against Bangladesh in Christchurch gives Trent Boult the chance to underline his status as New Zealand's preeminent left-arm pace bowler, as Australia and South Africa loom on the Black Caps' summer menu.

The pitch should have some fast bowling benefits, particularly if the hosts get first use. Previous incarnations have provided bounce, pace and carry.

History should give Boult heart as New Zealand pursue a 2-0 series victory. The 27-year-old has 15 wickets at 24.60 from the venue's three tests. He dominated in December 2014 with seven for 125 against Sri Lanka, struggled last February with three for 168 against Australia, but recalibrated with five for 76 to help beat Pakistan in November.

After 48 tests, Boult's average continues to hum with 178 wickets at 29.36. It has not ventured above 30 since he took career-best figures of 10 for 80 against the West Indies in December 2013. He has taken a wicket in all his tests except against Pakistan at Abu Dhabi in November 2014.

The only New Zealand southpaw contender to match him for skill and durability is Richard Collinge with 116 wickets at 29.25 from 35 tests between 1965 and 1978.

Boult's consistency, from his test debut in the victory over Australia at Hobart in 2011 to becoming one of the world's dominant limited overs bowlers, has impressed. His ODI average has not exceeded 25 since the World Cup, and he's the reigning world No 1.

Fitness has been the foundation to his success but a form blip loomed last summer against Australia. His 2015-16 average blew out to 41.81 at home, the first time it had done so beyond his 2011-12 debut season. Questions rose about whether he had lost a yard of pace.

Boult taking the new ball and galloping to the crease like he's on the back straight at Ellerslie has been a constant to New Zealand's recent success. He doesn't sprint, but it's a reasonable clip, harnessing hours of base training in the ascent of Mt Maunganui. No cricket fan wanted to see that decelerate into a Clydesdale plodding along a country lane.

However, the left-armer fought back with formidable spells in India, particularly match figures of five for 84 from 38.4 overs in the Kolkata test, a tribute to his concentration levels under physical duress.

Yesterday Boult acknowledged the New Zealand bowlers' emphasis on using the shorter ball to maximum effect, an attrition tactic that has worked in the past. Yet he admitted to feeling more comfortable pitching up, something each of his five wickets for 184 from 47.5 overs in the opening match would attest to; as would most victims in his career.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW
Covers sport across NZME's print, digital and radio brands.

Andrew writes and broadcasts on cricket and the Olympic disciplines for NZME's print, digital, video and radio platforms. His most recent project followed New Zealand sportspeople competing in Europe during the 2015 northern summer. He has attended four cricket World Cups, three Olympics and regularly works as a correspondent overseas.

Read more by Andrew Alderson

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf05 at 29 Mar 2017 18:52:28 Processing Time: 876ms