Dylan Cleaver provides three things to watch as the Black Caps take on the West Indies in the second test at the Basin Reserve in Wellington today.
1. Lightning Boult
The best fast bowlers have egos. From the Demon Spofforth, through Harold Larwood, Dennis Lillee, the West Indies rampaging quartet and even Sir Richard Hadlee, they all knew that batsmen often feared them and always respected them. It made them feel good.
Today, the quicks all talk about working as a pack and it means something, but no matter how well they bowl as a group, they'd prefer the crooked numbers in the wickets column to be alongside their name.
In the first test, Boult took two wickets, Neil Wagner, Tim Southee and Kyle Jamieson took six, five and four. It's continued a pattern of late. Once neck and neck, Southee (289) has raced ahead of Boult (269) on the overall tally and looks certain to hit 300 first.
More than the numbers though, is the noise. People are talking about Southee's second coming, of Jamieson's limitless potential and Wagner has done nothing to disabuse anybody of the notion that he is a national treasure. He has become as much a part of summer as pre-cooked sausages and underage drinking.
The chatter around Boult has gone a bit quiet but that will surely change in Wellington, a city where he has taken more test wickets (45) than any other.
2. Calling the Windies
The simple question is: Can they respond? On their mid-year tour to England they started strongly before the claustrophobic nature of the bio-bubble seemed to weigh on them and they faded.
It's been different in New Zealand, with separate squads training under the cosh of quarantine protocols before being beaten 2-0 in the T20s and taking an absolute hammering in the first test.
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They would not be human if they didn't have an eye on home, especially with strong winds expected to buffet the Basin across the weekend. Yes, they're professional, elite sportsmen who are expected to deal with whatever is in front of them but when you combine the difficulties of touring in 2020 with the small fact that they're overmatched against New Zealand at the best of times it becomes hard to see them going toe-to-toe for long.
Their path to victory will be the same as in Hamilton – win the toss and hope to roll New Zealand on a greentop – but we all saw how well that went last time.
3. One and done
It's a really nice problem to have but one of the offshoots of New Zealand's home dominance in recent years is the pressure it puts on middle-order batsman who realise they're probably going to get one proper bat.
In the midst of this 14-test unbeaten streak they've won a staggering six tests by an innings. On another two occasions they never batted a second time during drawn matches.
On the six occasions they've padded up for a second dig they have finished nought down, two down, three down, four down and twice eight down.
To put it another way, only three times in the past 14 tests has No 6 got two bats in a game.