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New Zealand vs Sri Lanka 2nd test | Takeaways from Day1 | Southee’s perfect day out

New Zealand vs Sri Lanka 2nd test | Takeaways from Day1 | Southee’s perfect day out

14 batsmen were dismissed on the opening in the New Zealand and Sri Lanka 2nd test at Christchurch. Tim Southee was the star performer for New Zealand and the pacer dug them out of a hole with a quick-fire 68. What went right for the teams and what didn’t? Shubh Agarwal narrates day1. Scores at stumps, NZ – 178, SL – 88/4

Dark clouds to complement the green top and Dinesh Chandimal did not hesitate before electing to bowl first after winning the toss in Christchurch. The script went just like the Sri Lankans would have wanted, New Zealand struggled to cross the 50-run mark in the first session losing 4 wickets in the process.

Suranga Lakmal instilled all the damage bowling unchanged before Lunch, eventually taking his first 5-for in the land of the Blackcaps. Tim Southee put some fire in the home side’s fightback with an impressive all-round performance but Angelo Mathews and Roshen Silva did not let go off Sri Lanka’s advantage completely by holding their ground firmly by the end of the day’s play.

The first session of the game tomorrow is set to hold an important significance in the outcome of the result of this game and hence the series.

Here are few noticeable takeaways from the first day’s play in New Zealand vs Sri Lanka 2nd Test at Christchurch:

 

Relentless Lakmal in the first session

After missing out in the first Test, Suranga Lakmal played the protagonist in bringing down New Zealand’s batting in the first session. In an opening burst of 16 overs, 70% of balls bowled by the spearhead of Sri Lanka’s pace battery were bowled in the corridor of uncertainty (bowling line – off stump, outside off stump + bowling length – full).

The consistent show brought him two wickets in the first spell itself in comparison to the one wicket to show for his 31-over long effort in the Wellington Test where he could exploit that same corridor only 54% of times.

Even with a lesser swing available to him today (0.724° on average today in comparison to 0.830° in Wellington) he was able to be much more effective as he has been throughout this tour so far.

 

False Short Ball Ploy

After an extended but tight bowling spell of 16 overs from Suranga Lakmal that had pushed the Kiwis onto the back foot mentally, the young fast bowling pair of Lahiru Kumara and Dushmantha Chameera tried to do the same to them physically.

Following Lakmal’s departure from the bowling attack, Chameera and Kumara began a short ball barrage at Tim Southee and BJ Watling that allowed the batting pair to settle down.

 

The short balls with Lakmal out of the attack brought 32 runs for the Kiwis in 25 balls that helped Southee and Watling ease the pressure off themselves. Also, the percentage of balls that brought the Kiwis onto the front-foot to play the ball also went down by 19% in comparison to what it was when the experience of Lakmal was in play.

 Tim Southee himself said in the press, “I guess they changed their tactics that had worked so well for them for the first six wickets, and that probably worked in our favour,”er following the day’s play”.

 

Southee’s onslaught to New Zealand’s rescue

Along with his ability to swing the ball, Tim Southee has also built himself a reputation of clearing the boundary ropes with the bat in hand whenever required. Today was one such occasion when he came to bat with New Zealand reeling at 64/6.

Southee used the long handle again striking 6 fours and 3 sixes helping the Kiwis recover to 172/7 at the fall of his wicket, courtesy of an outstanding catch from Danushka Gunathilaka. The most promising aspect about Southee’s knock was that it came at a strike rate in excess of 100 that helped them to put some pressure back on the visitors.

Eight out of Tim Southee’s ten knocks of 40 or more Test cricket have come at a strike rate of 100 or more. Among the players who have scored over 1,500 runs batting at 8 or lower, Tim Southee has the highest strike rate, 87.81.

With 68 sixes to his name in 62 Tests at the age of 30, Southee stands a fair chance to topple Brendon McCullum in terms of hitting most sixes for New Zealand in Test cricket.

 

Boult Missing the Mark

It is rare to see a bowler like Trent Boult fail to leave a mark when other swing bowlers like

Suranga Lakmal and Tim Southee share 8 wickets among them. Given his reputation, Trent Boult would himself be disappointed not contributing to the 4 wickets New Zealand have taken today.

Among the prime pacers from both sides, Boult had the lowest percentage of his balls falling in the corridor of uncertainty to cause trouble to the opposition batsmen.

 

34% of Boult’s wickets in his Test career so far have come by exploiting that corridor. With the series hanging in balance, Boult would look to come back tomorrow with a much more powerful performance to be counted amongst wickets.

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