Northern Knights coach James Pamment is looking for another big effort from his bowlers when his side take on Plunket Shield leaders the Canterbury Wizards from today.
Pamment has been delighted with his attack after three rounds of the competition. They have secured 10 of a possible 12 bowling points on offer in the first innings, and would have their full allotment if it wasn't for an obscure declaration from Otago in their rain-hit drawn match in Whangarei.
Since that game finished on Saturday the ND players have trained in three separate groups in Auckland, Bay of Plenty and Hamilton, before travelling to Christchurch yesterday.
The hosts are coming off one of the more amazing games of four-day cricket, prevailing by 10 runs over Wellington in Rangiora, the Firebirds recovering from 26-6 in the first innings to almost chasing down the massive target of 470.
That win has thrust the Wizards to the top of the ladder with two wins and a loss and 37 points, with ND in fourth on 25 after a win and two draws.
"They're obviously doing some things reasonably well, but we'll be looking to exploit their weaknesses that we've identified through observation from afar, obviously," Pamment said of Canterbury.
"We obviously look very closely at how individuals are performing."
Tom Latham has been a standout, while Dean Brownlie and Rob Nicol make up the rest of the top three and can punish teams on their day.
"There's some good cricketers that have been heavily invested in by New Zealand Cricket, never mind Canterbury Cricket, so at some point in time you would expect these guys to really start delivering significantly," Pamment said.
The hosts' pace attack has been boosted by Matt Henry's recovery from a hamstring injury of Matt Henry, while the nippy Hamish Bennett, is a key to keep quiet.
"It's a little bit like what you're observing over in Australia with Mitchell Johnson. When you've got somebody that bowls a little bit quicker than everybody else and gets it in good areas, it's uncomfortable for players, so he's a threat that we'll have to take very seriously and perform really well against," Pamment said.
"At the end of the day, we're focusing on what we've been doing well. Our bowling group has bowled with great discipline in all the innings we've bowled in so far in first class cricket. We've shown good control, we've been extremely patient. We need to complement that with some better fielding. We haven't caught as well as we would have liked."
ND have kept the 12 from their last match, where seamer Anurag Verma was 12th man, and they had three slow bowling options, left-arm duo Daniel Vettori and Anton Devcich, and off-spinner Jono Boult.
Pamment said with Verma having recently finished his fourth and final year of his engineering degree and getting over a few minor injuries, he will come into contention.
"I just sort of feel he's back to where he needs to be to really put his hand up for selection to get into this team."
Canterbury Wizards: Andrew Ellis (c), Rob Nicol, Tom Latham, Dean Brownlie, Shanan Stewart, Henry Nicholls, Brad Cachopa, Todd Astle, Logan van Beek, Matt Henry, Hamish Bennett, George Worker.
Northern Knights: Daniel Flynn (c), Brad Wilson, Joe Carter, Daryl Mitchell, Anton Devcich, Daniel Vettori, Scott Kuggeleijn, Cam Fletcher, Jono Boult, Graeme Aldridge, Jimmy Baker, Anurag Verma.
- © Fairfax NZ News