Justin Langer has no problems with the Black Caps' short-pitched bowling — in fact, he wants to see more of it.
The Australian coach offered that cheeky response ahead of the third test at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Friday, making a perfectly sound argument by pointing out the first-innings totals his team have put up when faced with the tactic.
"I hope so, because if it is then we'll hopefully get the same results," Langer grinned when asked if he expected New Zealand's short-pitched bowling strategy to continue in Sydney.
"Let's keep it in perspective — we've got 400 in the first innings in our last four test matches, our goal is to do that. [We've got] plenty of time for short-pitched bowling, our guys have played it so well. In the second innings we've been on top of the game in Perth, and in the last test, our guys probably didn't adapt to it like they did in the first innings," said Langer.
"But it's none of our business what New Zealand do, I'm really pleased with how our guys are handling everything New Zealand is throwing at us."
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The Black Caps bowlers have had some success with the short ball — Neil Wagner capped off a fantastic 2019 (43 wickets in just six tests) by claiming Steve Smith's wicket four times in four innings with the tactic — but they have also been guilty of not bowling at the stumps enough, and allowing Australia off the hook in the first innings on two occasions.
Black Caps bowling coach Shane Jurgensen has been proud of his bowlers' efforts in trying circumstances, but acknowledges they have improvements to make.
"We know that we can always improve and I think our bowling so far has been fantastic efforts in some pretty extreme conditions. At times we created opportunities, we beat the bat a lot, but we just missed out on being as sharp as we'd normally be.
"We haven't bowled as accurately as we'd have wanted to. It's up to us in this last test to really show what we've got."
There could be fewer short balls on offer in Sydney, with the SCG wicket expected to offer more for the spinners than the wickets in Perth or Melbourne. Langer was curious whether that would mean a potential appearance for former New South Wales bowler Will Somerville.
"It will be interesting to see if New Zealand play two spinners or not. A lot of our guys have played with him before so they'll have a pretty good idea. He's tall, he's got a good economy rate, we'll have to be patient against him. We know [Todd] Astle's in the squad so they might play him as the leggie as well — we'll be well-prepared and we'll be well-planned for him."
Jurgensen wouldn't be drawn on the make-up of his attack, with question marks around the fitness of key seamers Wagner and Tim Southee, who have bowled a combined 215 overs in the series.
"We'll know more tomorrow, they've had a rest today, but that's what the guys are paid for, particularly Neil, he'll keep coming in all day. I'm really proud of guys like Neil, he's come out and really showed a presence and he's done very well," said Jurgensen.
"We need to look long-term, we've got a lot of cricket coming up this summer, but at the same time, every test for New Zealand is worth so much to this team, and I know the guys will be pumped to have a really good performance in this last test — there's still so much to play for."