The Black Caps bowlers produced a superb effort to dominate day three of the first test against the West Indies at Seddon Park – but one member of the pace quartet doesn't get enough credit, writes Dylan Cleaver.
There are times when Tim Southee's excellence is almost taken for granted.
Chalk this down as one of those times.
His 4-35 in the first innings reads well, but it hides a lot too. It doesn't tell you that when the West Indies took guard this morning they were 49-0 and the prospect of a long grind was in store. It doesn't tell you that he took the first two wickets to fall and set in train the capitulation that was to follow.
Southee was better than good but in many ways it felt bog standard. It's not; you don't start to hunt down 300 wickets unless you're doing something pretty special. Southee is fit, can bowl for long spells and has no intention of giving any form of cricket away as he approaches 32. Why would he and he's only getting better.
"Tim Southee," was Jermaine Blackwood's blunt assessment of who was the pick of the New Zealand bowlers. "He was pretty much the slowest of the bowlers but he was swinging the ball a lot earlier."
The right-armer who now has 289 test wickets credited an older ball that kept swinging for his first innings success.
"We know when we're able to swing it we're a lot more dangerous," he said.
Southee was almost animated when discussing the potential of the four-pronged pace attack.
"Kyle has picked up where he left off last summer with both bat and ball. He's been a great asset to the side. You've got myself and Trent – left arm, right arm, who swing it – Wags does his thing and then you've got a guy who's an absolute giant coming in and hitting challenging areas."
For a long time it appeared this would be a three-day test but Southee said there was no disappointment in not finishing the job quickly.
"Any time you have a side follow on you know you've played pretty well at some stage. We weren't quite at our best in the last hour but you've got to give credit to [the batsmen]. They took an attacking approach, had a little bit of luck but played positive cricket."
While nobody would argue that it was anything but New Zealand's day, Blackwood and Alzarri Joseph lit up the evening with an unbroken 107-run partnership. It was rollicking good fun and, as Blackwood said, the result of neither wanting to let the other one down.
"When Alzarri came to the crease I just told him to play his natural game and I would try to bat as long as possible. He was like: "I'm going to stay here with you.'
"I hit two balls in the air and then I thought, 'No, I'm going to stay here with him,' because he takes pride in his batting as well. It was good to see him come out and bat the way he did. I was pretty proud of myself as well, the way I went about things. We mixed aggression and then tried to get as good a shot selection as possible."
The rest of the top order had a day to forget though, and Blackwood acknowledged things would need to change in Wellington.
"We can commend the New Zealand bowlers for the way they bowled with the new ball, but we lost some of our batsmen a bit too easily and we did that in the first innings as well. [We] are going to work hard on that and come back in the next test."