Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - Southee brilliance puts New Zealand at the wheel. Southee picked a fifer.
Southee picked a fifer.
On just the fifth ball of the second day in Kanpur, Ravindra Jadeja was left a touch surprised. A Tim Southee delivery, bowled from round the stumps had skidded on from length, struck him on the front pad in line and evoked a vociferous appeal. Jadeja looked back at the stumps and then ahead where it had pitched trying to comprehend what just happened while New Zealand players waited for replays. They were rebuffed, by a close umpire's call, but it was an encouraging sign for Southee after what he'd gone through just the previous evening.
Midway through Day 1, after he'd expertly set up Cheteshwar Pujara with a hint of reverse swing and rattled India, he had to hobble off. He'd later admit that leaving the field at the stage even with the spinners not being as effective as they'd have liked was a bit precautionary, to ensure the groin strain that he felt wasn't worse than just that. “It was a nice reassurance that it wasn't a muscular [injury]. It was more on the tendon. So for the peace of mind that was nice,” Southee revealed.
Day 2 was a fresh start with an early spring in the step, but also with a bit of soreness from the previous evening. But that was pushed to the back of the mind as he went about setting up Jadeja in his following over. Southee bowled full and straight for five deliveries before pushing a fielder back to deep square leg. Jadeja saw that and stayed deep in the crease in anticipation of a short ball, which never came. Instead came a length ball, angled in from round the stumps, that crashed into the wickets off an inside edge.
Shreyas Iyer shook off Jadeja's early departure and took on New Zealand's most effective bowler of Day 1 – Kyle Jamieson – for four boundaries in his first three overs. But Southee packed in all his experience and bowling smarts on a flat Kanpur wicket to offer what his captain desperately wanted – early inroads when the new ball was still hard. Just 10 overs in with it, it went out of shape and had to be changed, but Southee managed to generate a little more outswing with the replacement.
He started out with fuller lengths against Wriddhiman Saha, before pushing it back a touch and forcing the keeper-batsman on the backfoot. Saha too patiently got behind the line and defended most balls. Southee followed up hard lengths with a fuller ball from wide off the crease, creating an inward angle and sucked Saha into attempting a drive. The ball straightened a touch and took an edge to Tom Blundell behind the stumps.
By the end of the first hour, Southee had already bowled six overs on the trot but Williamson had no intention of cutting that spell short there. Southee had ended the previous night on painkillers in order to be ready for doing exactly this, even if he had to do it with some level of stiffness still lingering.”Having played a bit of cricket, you tend to be able to play through some sort of stiffness and soreness. It's nothing new to play through a little bit of pain and I think the best painkiller is wickets,” he quipped.
Right after that drinks intermission, India slid deeper into the burrow that Southee was digging for them, as Iyer found the cover fielder while driving an outswinger uppishly and away from his body – his first rash decision of the morning.
The genius of Southee's spell all morning was in how well he used the angles against both left and right-handed batsmen and reaped the rewards of being consistent with his lengths. The fifer was complete with the wicket of Axar Patel, with an angled cross-seamer – a trademark that he honed with the help of former pacer Kyle Mills that straightened after pitching and took an edge to the keeper.
With that, Southee stomped all over the thoughts of ‘bat once, bat big' that India would have entertained at the close of play on Thursday. His utterly skillful 11-over spell on a seemingly docile track saw India score just 87 runs for their last six wickets, and put New Zealand at the wheel in Kanpur.