Black Caps bowling coach Dimitri Mascarenhas happy with effort in Dunedin
There will be several happy seam bowlers at the Black Caps hotel preparing for the second test against Sri Lanka in Hamilton starting Friday.
Coach Mike Hesson and captain Brendon McCullum were due to get their first look at the Seddon Park wicket on Wednesday afternoon.
What they were greeted with blended into the block and outfield - a green deck which should see Mark Craig remain sidelined and the four-prong seam attack retained.
Although the wicket looks green, Seddon Park turf manager Karl Johnson told Radio Sport that looks can be deceiving, and it will really provide pace and bounce for the teams. "We're playing on a Patumahoe clay, which is the first time we've played a test match on that clay here at Seddon Park," Johnson said.
"It's a little new one for us. At this stage we've still got a day and a half to go, so there's still plenty of grass on it. It's looking quite green at this stage. We're hoping to have a little pace, a little bounce in this one."
That will only be a good thing for Black Caps bowling coach Dimitri Mascarenhas, who saw his bowlers return to form against Sri Lanka in Dunedin last week, taking 20 wickets for the first time since the tour of England in June.
"It seems a long time coming," Mascarenhas said. "The boys, as you saw, bowled exceptionally well on a really flat wicket and it's about time we took 20 wickets.
"I think we just showed what we are capable of doing, but now it's time to keep that consistency up and move forward."
Given the shade of green on the Seddon wicket two days out from the test, keeping that consistency will be a much easier task.
Dunedin's University Oval tested the Black Caps bowlers, forcing them to get wickets out of a dead wicket.
The bowlers even resorted to short-pitch, almost bodyline tactics at times, which worked in getting the Kiwi bowlers a couple of wickets.
"The pitch was pretty dead, pretty flat and good for batting, so sometimes you've just got to go to that role and see if you can unsettle them a bit.
"It seemed to work but obviously they'll be ready for that next time around."
Rain is forecast on Thursday, adding to the showers that hit Seddon Park on Wednesday, meaning the pitch isn't likely to brown off much before the opening day of the test.
With confidence increasing in the New Zealand bowling corps, the green seamer can only be a good thing against a talented new group of Sri Lankan batsmen.
The fresh looking Sri Lankan side, missing former stars Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, were showing good signs in the first test.
"They've got some really talented and skilful players so it's hard work [bowling them out]," Mascarenhas said.
"We knew it was going to be hard work to get 20 wickets, that's why we declared so early. We needed time to bowl them out.
"I know they've lost a couple of big players, but the ones coming in are having opportunities and they're taking them."
LACK OF CONFIDENCE
Mascarenhas said one bowler in need of confidence is Trent Boult. He said Bould is back to full fitness, but may be lacking some belief.
"I think sometimes it's just a little bit of confidence, confidence in his body to keep going and really feel that he can push those speeds up.
"We've seen at times that he has pushed it up to high 130s, but other than that he's going really nicely. The ball seems to be coming out nice and he's getting it in the right area."
Mascarenhas rated Doug Bracewell as New Zealand's best bowler in Dunedin despite finishing with only one wicket. He also praised Neil Wagner on his return to test cricket.
Without seeing the wicket, Mascarenhas did suggest a twin-spin option was possible for the second test, with Craig potentially joining Mitchell Santner in the squad, but that looks unlikely given the pitch conditions.
Mascarenhas did mention Matt Henry as a player pressing the four seamers who played the first test, but barring injury a change doesn't seem likely.