New Zealand pacer Tim Southee lavished praise on Sri Lankan pacers, as they brilliantly troubled the hosts with their fine pace attack, and bundled out the Black Caps for 178 on the opening day of the second and final Test in Christchurch on Wednesday (December 26).
At Hagley Oval, veteran Lankan pacer Suranga Lakmal was at his best with the ball as he returning with his career-best figures of 5 for 54, while the young pacers - Kasun Rajitha and Lahiru Kumara (3 scalps) took the remaining four wickets to bowl out the hosts in 50 overs here.
Southee told reporters after day's play, “We knew it was going to be tough after losing the toss, but Lakmal bowled extremely well and asked some tough questions. We've had other teams come to this part of the world and win the toss, and we've still been able to put a reasonable score on the board. A lot of credit has to go to the way Lakmal bowled. Early on he got his lengths right and was a real handful.”
He continued, “I guess they changed their tactics that had worked so well for them for the first six wickets, and that probably worked in our favor. The fuller balls worked better on that pitch than the shorter ones, and when they bowled short, we were just trying to cash in on that.”
Southee signed off by saying, “When you're taking wickets, it's tough to get the ball out of your hand. He was in a bit of a rhythm. He had the 40-minute break after lunch, but came out and bowled another few overs. It worked for him that we were bowled out, but if we could have batted a bit longer and asked him to come back and come back, then that might have tested him, but full credit to him. He bowled exceptionally in that first hour.”
However, New Zealand also bounced back in the match after Southee scalped three quick wickets to leave Lanka reeling at 21 for 3, eventually finished their innings at just 104.
(With Cricbuzz Inputs)