For most of the summer of test cricket, Trent Boult had been toiling away without reward.

Since taking four wickets against Pakistan in the first innings of the Black Caps' 2018/2019 test season, Boult hadn't quite hit the same heights in the seven innings that followed, averaging 68 with the ball.

A lot of that had to do with conditions – UAE was favourable to spinners, and the Basin Reserve quickly became a batsman's paradise – while there was some bad luck involved too, with Boult having largely bowled well without success.

That all changed in the span of 15 brilliant balls on day two of the second test against Sri Lanka.

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The Hagley Oval conditions proved perfect for Boult, who destroyed the tail order in a scintillating spell of six wickets for four runs, and ending a slow patch that was aggravating at times.

"I suppose it can be easy to get frustrated a little bit, figuring out why things aren't happening.

"With a little bit more experience – I'm getting old now – realising it can be funny game, it's probably about turning up with the right attitude, trying to put the ball in the right areas, and I was just lucky enough to get a bit of reward."

Trent Boult takes one of his many wickets for the Black Caps. Photo / Photosport
Trent Boult takes one of his many wickets for the Black Caps. Photo / Photosport

Boult ended with career-best figures of 6-30, and says it came about from a simple plan of attack.

"It's all about rhythm for me. A couple of wickets gives you a bit of confidence and just lets you go about your thing. The plans were simple this morning - it was about building pressure on the guys and it was nice to exploit a bit of their weaknesses with some swing bowling."

However, as is custom in the Black Caps camp, Boult was also keen to deflect praise onto his teammates.

"It's one of the strengths of the side, of the bowling unit itself, is bowling for each other and sticking to that plan and being willing to hang in there and be patient. Timmy got the rewards last week and I'm sure there's just rewards for the other guys around the corner as well. I think that's one of the main reasons we are so successful is bowling from both ends and bowling in those partnerships. That's probably what we'll look to do later in the game."

With a lead of 305 runs, and eight wickets still in hand, the Black Caps bowlers should have plenty to work with as they push for a record fourth-straight series victory.

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Six of the best: Six of test cricket's top spells

Lance Gibbs - 8-6 for West Indies v India, 1962
Curtly Ambrose - 7-1 for West Indies v Australia, 1993
Sarfraz Nawaz - 7-1 for Pakistan v Australia, 1979
Trent Boult - 6-4 for New Zealand v Sri Lanka, 2018
Doug Bracewell - 6-26 for New Zealand v Australia, 2011
Richard Hadlee - 7-23 for New Zealand v India, 1976