Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
New Zealand pace bowler Neil Wagner has announced that the national team’s bowling attack has a good chance to win the third Test against the West Indies in Barbados if they manage to secure a lead above 250.
New Zealand ended day three 99 runs ahead and still have seven wickets in hand.
“Kane (Williamson) and Baz (Brendon McCullum) batted quite well at the end, did an awesome job there,” Wagner said. “Getting us to a 98-run or so lead, which is brilliant. We would have taken that any day. Anything above 250 gives us bowlers a good chance to defend it. It is only going to get harder to bat on towards the end but we know they can come out swinging. Our bowlers are pretty confident what we have done in the past, in the last couple of months. If we get 250, we will be happy with defending that.”
However, Wagner believes the West Indies will have a tough time batting last on a pitch that is fast deteriorating.
“There was a couple of times where it seemed to be going up and down a little bit,” he said. “Some balls seemed to be staying low and some saw tennis-ball bounce. Quite happy where it is at and it is going to start getting to the point where it is going to be tough to bat on last day and innings.”
Wagner also noted that he was pleased to have taken four wickets after missing out on the first two Tests in Jamaica and Trinidad.
“We bowled a lot better in partnerships and created a bit more pressure for longer periods of time and started getting rewards for it. So overall quite happy with the bowling performance today,” he said. “Quite nice to get a couple of wickets under the belt and be back in the team and doing a good job. Quite nice getting that opportunity and make full use of it. It is always good to play for your country and represent them on the international stage.
“We got a couple of plans in place but at the end of the day the plans are only as good as you execute them on the day and we executed for longer periods of time and that is why we got some rewards for it. Pretty good day overall and Brendon was quite spectacular with those plans.
“Baz just kept telling me, ‘wicket there would be gold before the new ball’. Bit of a burgle down the leg side but you’ll take it any day, so quite happy about that. It (Chanderpaul dismissal) was quite crucial.”
Meanwhile, debutant Jason Holder stated that he was happy to have scored 38 runs and claimed Ross Taylor as his first Test wicket.
“I’m pleased with the way I batted today,” Holder said. “Unfortunately this morning [we couldn’t] kick on a little bit more, give the team a few more runs for the lead, but it didn’t happen. Came back this afternoon, got a wicket, so hoping tomorrow I can come get some more wickets.”
However, Holder did not agree with Wagner’s views about the pitch being hard to bat on.
“Not easy to start,” he said. “It’s a pitch where you know you’ve got to get in. It’s a little two-paced and I thought Wagner bowled very well, very tempting and testing. But once you get in it’s a lot easier to score.”
Holder added that the West Indies have a good chance of winning if they are made to chase a target of “around 230-250”.
“It’s still a pretty good pitch to bat on,” he said. “It’ll be interesting to see the way New Zealand play tomorrow, see if they can put runs on the board first to get. I just think if we maintain discipline tomorrow morning and hit our straps it will be difficult for them to score.”