They call him the sheriff of the New Zealand lower order.
New Zealand gloveman BJ Watling might blush at that title but he marshalled the troops expertly against a flagging West Indies on day two of the second test.
Watling's diligent 65 in a tick over three hours at the Basin Reserve enabled the hard-swinging lower order to further embarrass the tourists, and himself to move up the ranks of wicketkeeper-batsmen.
New Zealand haven't won a test in 2013 but Watling's been constant, scoring 576 runs at an average of 41. Yesterday he moved past England's Matt Prior and Australia's Brad Haddin on the runscoring list of wicketkeeper-batsmen this year, second only to South Africa's AB de Villiers (743 runs at 82.55).
"I think he's just a smart cricketer. He takes that responsibility really well. He's the sheriff of that lower order and he bats with guys and guys bat around him," allrounder Corey Anderson said.
From when Ross Taylor departed for 129, the final four wickets added 145. It continued a healthy pattern for the New Zealand tail, which sits third behind Australia and England in 2013 in terms of runs scored from the seventh wicket down.
Watling was last out trying to force the pace, having added 38 with Tim Southee, 49 with Ish Sodhi then a memorable 58 for the final wicket with Trent Boult, a New Zealand 10th wicket record against West Indies.
"I guess it doesn't demoralise an opposition team but it just saps, or takes a little bit more energy out of them, knowing that they're so close to finishing but they can't finish the job," Anderson said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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