Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
After having lost the first Test in Abu Dhabi by 248 runs, New Zealand opening batsman Tom Latham has announced that Pakistan’s spinners are not “unplayable”.
Latham provided one of the few bright moments New Zealand had during the match when he scored his maiden Test century in the first innings.
However, Pakistan’s spin trio of Zulfiqar Babar, Yasir Shah and Mohammad Hafeez accounted for 11 out of New Zealand’s 20 wickets during the first Test.
“Pakistan’s spinners obviously have variations, the make up of their side is a left-armer and a leg-spinner and they do challenge us, but I don’t think they are unplayable,” Latham said.
Latham also noted that New Zealand’s top order batsmen have to make big scores, like Pakistan did in the first Test, in order to make the second Test a lot more competitive.
“If we can put them under pressure, if we bat first and put runs on the board – in the series against Australia and our first Test they’ve been batting first both times and haven’t been put under pressure,” Latham said. “They’ve put big totals on the board and their spinners have been able to bowl to us. If we win the toss and put a big score on the board, hopefully we can turn things around.”
Latham pointed out that if leg-spinner Ish Sodhi can make a career-best 63 against Pakistan’s spin attack, then there should be no reason why the top order batsmen cannot do the same thing.
“We showed that on the morning of the fifth day when Ish (Sodhi) and Trent (Boult) dug in,” he said. “They played really well so if we get ourselves in those situations and keep them (spinners) out for long then we can be able to put a big total on the board.
“The basic principle is to apply ourselves and go out and see if the ball is reverse swinging or spinning, then we have to apply ourselves and try to adapt to the situation as quickly as possible to those conditions.”
Latham also admitted that he is disappointed about his side being 1-0 down since it means they have to win the next two Tests in order to win the series.
“It’s disappointing to be 1-0 down in the series but with two matches left we’ve got a huge amount of work to do and a good opportunity to right a few wrongs,” he said. “This side’s shown in the past, in the West Indies where we lost the second Test and then came back and won the last one and won the series, so it’s been done before and hopefully we can do it again.”
Latham also revealed that New Zealand have practised batting against reverse swing at the International Cricket Council (ICC) academy facilities in Dubai.
“We’ve got the keys to what we need in every area,” Latham said. “If we look at our batting, we weren’t quite on, we lost wickets in clumps which gives the Pakistanis momentum…With the bowling, we toiled hard and the wickets were pretty unresponsive to seam, so if we can get a few early wickets with the new ball then hopefully that will start us off.
“Spirits are still high, we’re a team that gets on really well. I think that’s pretty important, especially when you are 1-0 down in the series. Confidence is still up, the boys are keen to get back out there and turn it around.”