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Sammy hopes for worn out New Zealand

Published: 
Monday, December 9, 2013
West Indies captain Darren Sammy does the balancing act during his innings in the first test against New Zealand on Friday. AP Photo.

Dunedin—West Indies’ epic second innings in Dunedin not only helped deny New Zealand victory in the first Test, but it may have very well also given them a significant advantage going into the next match in Wellington, having kept the home side’s bowlers in the field for the best part of eight sessions.

 

In a scenario very similar to what New Zealand faced against England in March, their efforts to secure a win at University Oval could have a detrimental effect come the start of the second Test should they find themselves in the field first, as they did during the previous Wellington Test when England batted for five sessions.

 

Perhaps riding on the euphoria of having escaped with a draw in Dunedin, Darren Sammy indicated that he had not been too disappointed when Brendon McCullum enforced the follow-on on the third day in contrast to Michael Clarke’s approach in Adelaide.

 

“After they took the last wicket in the first innings Brendon said to me as they walking out ‘we are going to bowl again’. I said ‘thank you very much Brendon’,” Sammy said. “Their bowlers toiled and that’s a lot of yards in the legs. It’s going to be tough but I guess it’s what we do as professionals. I guess my bowlers will be much fresher than their bowlers so hopefully we can go into the second test and they’ll be a bit tired and we will be a fresher team.”

 

McCullum admitted the workload of his frontline quicks will need to be assessed in the couple of days leading into the Wellington match. Tim Southee sent down 45 overs, Trent Boult 51 and Neil Wagner 43 during West Indies’ two innings. The other aspect to factor in is McCullum’s instinct to often bowl first in Tests; if the toss falls in McCullum’s hands, his pace bowlers will hope the case to bat is too overwhelming to decline.

 

“It is a little concern,” McCullum said. “They put in a tremendous amount of work over the last few days and I couldn’t ask for any more than what they’ve given. The wicket flattened out quite a bit like we knew it would at some point.

 

“We didn’t probably expect the West Indies to negate our bowlers as much as they did for as long as they did and you’ve got to give credit to them for doing so. It was a wonderful innings from Bravo and supported by a couple of other guys. The concern for us is that Wellington is in a few days’ time, hopefully the wicket may have a little bit of spice in it as well, because we’ve seen that certainly suits our bowlers. If we do find ourselves in the park hopefully it’s not for too long.”

 

McCullum, though, indicated that he would not be swayed from putting West Indies in to bat, if he thought it was the best move on the day.

 

“Obviously we’ll see how the guys pull up. It was a very tough workload for them, but they’re young guys and they’re very fit, strong and they love playing cricket for their country. I think if we do find ourselves bowling in that first session of that next Test then I don’t think we’ll have too many problems getting up for it, but we do have to be a little bit rational and have to think what the right thing to do at the time as well.”

 

Both teams have selection issues to consider leading into the second Test. McCullum and Mike Hesson, the New Zealand coach who confirmed an unchanged 13-man squad for Wellington, will need to ponder whether their attack needs freshening up—Hesson said the bowlers would be given a day off today—and they will also need to make a decision on Kane Williamson who was ruled out of Dunedin due to a thumb injury.

 

Williamson has been playing a Hawke Cup match this weekend and made 140 for Bay of Plenty to suggest he is on track to replace Aaron Redmond, although Hesson said he still needed to come through a bowling and fielding stint. His offspin would also give New Zealand another bowling option, particularly useful to West Indies’ left handers.

 

For West Indies, the central issue is the fitness of Sammy after the glute injury he picked up on the second day. He appeared to be moving more freely during his second-innings 80, but did not bowl again in the match. He did not require a scan and remained hopeful of being able to take a full part in Wellington.

 

If Sammy is not fit to be part of the bowling attack, it is difficult to see how he could play even though he batted impressively in Dunedin. Their pace attack remains the weakest part of their game and the only other option they have in the squad is left-armer Sheldon Cottrell. Sammy indicated that the possibility of playing two frontline spinners—Sunil Narine alongside Shane Shillingford - would be seriously considered.

 

“Last time New Zealand were in the Caribbean in our conditions Narine played a big part in that series as well so it’s a good thing for us to have in the squad—two world class spinners that could win you a match on any day. When we get to Wellington well have a look at the pitch, I doubt that it’ll be anything different, but yes, we foresee the two of them playing together in the future.” (Cricinfo)

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