BJ Watling relishing his teammates' dominance

IAN ANDERSON
Last updated 05:03 18/12/2013
BJ Watling
Photosport
MR CONSISTENT: BJ Watling raises his bat for yet another half century.

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No-one is better placed than New Zealand wicketkeeper BJ Watling to judge the impact of his side's new-ball bowlers.

Watling was behind the stumps as Trent Boult and Tim Southee ripped through the West Indies in Wellington, and has done the same job for Northern Districts.

So it's no surprise that he's hugely appreciative of how the two spearheads are performing as they approach the third and final test starting in Hamilton tomorrow.

The duo have captured 26 wickets between them in just two tests against the tourists - Boult 15 and Southee 11.

They should also enjoy the conditions at Seddon Park, where the ball should swing in the heat and humidity, while the the pair played here last month and shared 12 wickets in a win for the Northern Knights over the Central Stags in a first-class match.

Boult captured the majority of the headlines in the second-test win for his 10-wicket haul, and Watling admitted the 24-year-old was in tip-top form.

"I think he's bowling in some great areas and swinging the ball," Watling said.

"But so is Tim. I think Tim's really improved over the last two years now - he's swinging it again and hitting a good heavy length.

"I think Tim's spell at the Basin where he took 3-19 off nine overs or something like that - that was equally as crucial as Trent's four-for as well. Tim really got the ball rolling for us and set the standard for the other boys to follow."

Watling said while a draw would be enough to secure a series victory, the hosts wanted to continue to take the attack to the West Indies.

"I'd love to win another game," he said.

"It's a great feeling to win test matches - we've got ourselves into positions to win two tests now and we've got to do it again here.

"I don't think too much will change. We've got to be positive - five days' cricket is a long time and we're definitely coming out here to win."

Watling felt the Black Caps were also able to put pressure on the tourists with the way they've batted in the series.

"We're scoring 400-plus regularly over the last year," Watling said.

"The key is to do it again here in Hamilton and that obviously sets you up for the game, where you can either win it or you can put them under pressure with the ball."

While Ross Taylor has led the way with the bat for New Zealand, Watling has also shone with knocks of 41 in Dunedin and 65 in Wellington; helping the middle-order and tail build big tallies. He said he's got confidence in what his role at number seven involves.

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"You're going to start batting with a batter and then it's just about batting and scoring runs with the other batter that's in.

"Tim, Ish [Sodhi], Wags [Neil Wagner] and Trent - they can all hold a bat so I feel real confident that they can all do a job and it's just about getting us through from 300 to 400. That's the goal on most occasions.

"I try to give them as much confidence as I can and little tactics. If there's two balls left in an over and they've just smacked them for 12 then I might tell them to try and be there at the end [of the over] and re-assess from there."

The West Indies will make at least one change to their side after off-spinner Shane Shillingford was ruled out of the test by the ICC for an illegal bowling action.

Sunil Narine is likely to take his place and the hosts will be wary of him after he caused the Black Caps problems in the test and one-day series in the Caribbean last year.

- Fairfax Media

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