Wagner a shining light for Black Caps
If nothing else, New Zealand's warmup match against a West Indies Cricket Board XI at Antigua has confirmed that Neil Wagner is ready for test cricket.
The now-naturalised South African quick bowler took 2-50, from 20 hostile overs, as the Black Caps made heavy weather of the second day of the three-day match at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.
Having been bowled out in the morning for just 149 the Black Caps didn't enjoy big success with the ball either, as the hosts went to stumps at 299-7. Daniel Vettori, with 4-48, was the most successful of the New Zealand bowlers.
"Whilst we're disappointed with the position today, there were some really good things - particularly the bowling of Neil Wagner," Vettori said at stumps. "He was awesome today. He brings a lot of aggression [and] he's a different style of bowler than probably most New Zealanders are used to. He runs in hard all day and wants to compete the whole time and I think he's a welcome addition to our side."
The first test between New Zealand and the West Indies starts at the same venue on Thursday morning.
Wagner has been a prolific wicket-taker for Otago during his four-year residency period and yesterday's effort would suggest he'll cause batsmen problems at the highest level.
He dismissed WICB XI century-maker Narsingh Deonarine, before nicking out Devon Thomas.
Vettori, meanwhile, was at his miserly best, picking up the wickets of Adrian Barath, Kieron Powell, Kirk Edwards and Shivnarine Chanderpaul.
"It's just [about] getting some overs under my belt, after a considerable layoff, and to be able to bowl 20 overs on a wicket that's similar to the test match wicket is hopefully going to hold me in pretty good stead," Vettori said.
The warmup match concludes this morning, with New Zealand hoping to spend most of the final day batting. Daniel Flynn (14), Kane Williamson (55) and Kruger van Wyk (34) were the only batsmen to break double figures in the Black Caps' first innings, in which fast bowler Kemar Roach took 4-34.