There had been a bit of angst from a different direction during the week, and that was that the much vaunted bowling line-up, while being impressive, had not taken enough wickets at the top of the innings in the Sri Lankan series. Today, led by Kyle Mills, the fleeting worry was put to rest.
He had been bowled out before the innings was at its halfway point with figures of 2/29. Boult, who is probably in direct competition with Mills, took 2/25.
The best thing about Milne is that he got through his ten overs at full throttle. He troubled the Pakistani batsmen throughout but only took the one wicket. That big wicket haul strangely still eludes him.
Anderson showed typical Golden Arm credentials, but Nathan McCullum failed to gain ground on Vettori. Wrapping it up was Elliott; you get the feeling that his bowling is going to be a pretty important part of the New Zealand line-up. He really revived the Spirit of 1992 today; sending some balls down at 80kph.
Then it was time to test out the angstometer. Once the McCullum flurry was over, and we can only assume lessons are being learnt there, Guptill looked as if he was about to play his best non Eden Park innings of the summer. Just as he looked set he was undone by a bouncier one. And just as Latham looked set he didn’t read an Afridi slider.
The best part was the partnership that got New Zealand home. Taylor probably played his best innings since returning from the UAE. The footwork was assured, and he looked very focussed. And Elliott went calmly about closing. It seems a long time since his inclusion in the squad was seen as a surprise.
As for Pakistan. Irfan Mohammed reminded us of the glorious eccentricity of Pakistani cricket. The world’s tallest ever cricketer was able to get extraordinary lift from a good length. Imagine him on an old-fashioned WACA pitch. And Afridi was just BOOM BOOM fantastic.
Those silly MVP points.
Note: Trent Boult was unlucky here, but he was a bit fortunate with Shehzad’s wicket; Mills was the better bowler.
- Ross Taylor. Just because he looked so good really.
- Kyle Mills. The game defining spell. Once he finished his spell the impetus was with the homes side.
- Grant Elliott. Best bowling figures and highest score for the match.