Scrap the term ‘fighting fire with fire’ from New Zealand Captain Kane Williamson’s Bay Oval battle plan.
The Black Caps captain and coach Gary Stead put an unexpected lid on the hype around the country’s most exciting fast bowler since Shane Bond, when they sent Lockie Ferguson back to Ford Trophy cricket.
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The Captain confirmed Northern Districts trio Tim Southee, Trent Boult, and Neil Wagner would combine for their eighth successive home test. England pace attack of senior man Stuart Broad, the express Jofra Archer, and left-arm Sam Curran.
Archer has been all the talk after his 20-wicket World Cup than 22 wickets in four Ashes tests and a near knockout blow to Australia’s colossus Steve Smith.
Currently rated the fastest in world cricket, Archer looms as a genuine danger to New Zealand’s top-six who’ve had a mixed training. Ferguson, too, was a World Cup force at a similar speed, grabbing 21 wickets, second only to Mitchell Starc.
I don’t know if that’s how you pick a team, Williamson told of the Ferguson v Archer theory, don’t get me wrong, the pleasure of having a guy in our site that can bowl at such high speed is very gorgeous.
The England saying that the current guys that have been there and done such a fantastic job for us are the ones we are going with for this game.
“Someone like Jofra has obviously been outstanding for England, you don’t look at mirroring the opposition.”
New Zealand had minimal reason to change the pace attack which propelled them to no 2 on the world rankings and a run of six unbeaten series.
Lockie Ferguson offered the untapped point of difference on a pitch that may become hard work for the bowlers.
In those past seven home tests – including the 1-0 series win over England 19 months ago – Southee took 36 wickets at 23.38, Boult 45 at 20.6 and Wagner 32 at 24.03.
If the sea breeze gets up and Boult and Southee’s prized swing doesn’t eventuate, the lion-hearted Wagner’s usual barrage will come into play.
England will have broad fresh off his domination of David Warner bowling to left-handers Tom Latham, Jeet Raval and Henry Nicholls, alongside Archer. And let’s not forget the world-beating Ben Stokes as fourth seamer and pivotal No 5 bat.
The England captain Joe Root of Archer, who plays his first offshore test: “He makes it look ridiculously easy with his action and the way he approaches the crease. But to be able to bowl at that pace for a period of time is a skill in itself, and he needs to understand that.”
“One thing I have learned is that he has a huge hunger for wickets. He wants to be in the game, and once you get the ball in his hand, it can be very hard to get it off him. It is a great trait.”
The New Zealand selection, Mitchell Santner pipped Todd Astle for the spinner’s berth, with Astle returning to Canterbury for Ford Trophy.
It was an indicator that spin will likely be used in a stock role rather than an attacking one, with the respective pace attacks potentially.
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