25 Feb 2020

Black Caps make the most of being at home

8:41 am on 25 February 2020

Home comforts certainly helped the Black Caps reverse their Test fortunes following their 10 wicket win over India in the first Test at the Basin Reserve.

New Zealand's Trent Boult celebrates a wicket.

Trent Boult Photo: PHOTOSPORT

New Zealand rebounded from their 3-nil hiding from Australia, while Indian suffered their first loss in eight games in the ICC World Test Championship.

Did the home side catch the tourists off guard or is New Zealand such a dominant team at home.

It was just seven weeks ago that New Zealand returned from Australia following a three nil hiding in that Test series and up against the top ranked side in the world Kane Williamson's team was expected to have their hands full once again.

However their hands were full of catches as they completed their 100th Test win in dominant fashion.

Williamson says they tried to forget about recent results and bouncing back wasn't something they talked about within the team.

"I suppose it's stripping things back a little bit because you can get a little bit carried away when you're thinking about the results after you've had a number of poor ones, sometimes the want for a good one can be the distraction to getting it, so it's focussing on the areas that are important, the roles, the plans that give us the best chance of success."

New Zealand's Tom Blundell and New Zealand's Tom Latham, Day 4 of the test cricket international between India and New Zealand, Basin Reserve, Wellington, New Zealand, 24 February, 2020. Copyright photo: John Cowpland / www.photosport.nz

Latham and Blundell Photo: PHOTOSPORT

One of those who you'd think would have been keen to make a point was bowler Tim Southee.

He was dropped for the third Test in Sydney over the New Year and then had some struggles during the T20 games against he India.

However he fought back with 5 for 61 in the second innings at the Basin Reserve... his 10th 5 wicket haul in Tests.

Southee played a straight bat to any talk of redemption.

"Every time you take the field you're trying to do your role and trying to do your job for the team, you want to play as much as you can, I love playing Test cricket and to be back put there in the whites it's about looking forward rather than back and being able to move on from previous experiences."

Looking forward is the only option Indian captain Virat Kohli has.

His batsmen disappointed in both innings of the Basin Reserve game.... they managed just 165 after being asked to bat first and then made 191 in their second knock.

While the Black Caps bowlers were good, Kohli admits the Indian batsmen were also disappointing.

"We have to accept that they outplayed us in this game and they bowled much better and put enough pressure on us, understanding the wicket pretty well which you expect them to do playing in their conditions," said Kohli.

"But going forward we understand what they would like to do and it's our job as batsmen to try and disrupt it as soon as possible so we put enough runs on the board."

The home field advantage has perhaps been overplayed.... the Black Caps certainly knew how to adapt to the ground and weather.... but those conditions weren't so extreme that India shouldn't have done better.

Southee says if anything, playing at home just makes a player feel more comfortable....

"Some of the Indians guys they're coming to conditions that are foreign to them, so for us it's coming back to grounds that we've played some very good cricket on over a number of years now, the guys know what to expect when you turn up to the Basin and Hagley which I guess happens all around the world, in home conditions you should have more of an understanding than the opposition."

New Zealand's Tim Southee appeals for the wicket of India's Ishant Sharma.

Tim Southee Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Another high-light for the Black Caps was the emergence of tall pace bowler Kyle Jamieson who on debut took four wickets in the first innings.

He now becomes a contender to play the second Test in Christchurch this weekend, even though Neil Wagner returns to the side following the birth of his first child.

Skipper Kane Williamson happy with his bowling stocks which a few weeks ago was in tatters.

"I suppose when you reflect back from the last few weeks where we had so many fast bowlers with injury, it's great that they're all kind of fit and coming back into the fold and you sought of feel like there is that element of depth of fast bowling which we always thought we had until we had four or five injuries."

Williamson's side now heads to Christchurch well placed to complete back to back Test wins over India in a series for the first time in 18 years.