New Delhi: Acknowledging that spin would be the most crucial factor in the three-match Test series in India, New Zealand’s slow bowlers got down to business with long spells at the Feroz Shah Kotla here on Wednesday.
The trio of leg-spinner Ish Sodhi, off-spinner Mark Craig and left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner bowled extended spells at the two-hour session, as the team prepared for their practice match against Ranji champions Mumbai beginning here Friday.
Kiwi captain Kane Williamson had admitted on Tuesday that it would be a tough ask for his men against the home spinners on turning wickets. And on the day, the visiting batsmen spent a considerable time playing spinners — be it their own team-mates or net bowlers.
The Kiwis’ extra emphasis on spin bowling was apparent from the fact that among the net bowlers, there were more spinners in action at the two dedicated nets for the slow bowlers on Wednesday.
Santner, however, turned his arm over only in the second hour as Sodhi and Craig were using the spinners’ nets.
Craig used the the new SG Test balls, an indication that he was in the scheme of things if the pitches in question start offering turn. On the other hand, star bowler for New Zealand in the ICC World T20 earlier this year in India, Sodhi bowled for the maximum time among the lot. When Santer came into action in the second hour, he was handed over an old ball which looked scuffed up as he got on with his job.
The visitors’ keen focus on spin became even more evident when skipper Williamson bowled off-breaks after he was done with his batting practice.
The New Zealand skipper has 29 wickets from his 52 Test appearances and it will not be surprising to see him bowl long spells on rank turners.
Meanwhile, fast bowlers Tim Southee and Trent Boult also hit the straps while left-arm pacer Neil Wagner was seen bowling with an old ball. The accent seemed to be on reverse swing considering the pitch at Green Park in Kanpur — venue of the first Test - will be of an abrasive nature....