Cricket

McCullum follow-on daunting

2013-12-13 09:22
Brendon McCullum (File)

Wellington - Brendon McCullum had possibly the easiest day of his Test captaincy on Friday but still agonised over asking West Indies to follow-on in the wake of criticism of his decision to do so last week in the drawn first Test.

New Zealand's bowlers captured 16 wickets in 67.4 overs on Friday to win the second Test by an innings and 73 runs inside three days to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series with Trent Boult taking career-best figures of 10-80.

Boult produced a spell of five wickets in 15 balls in the first innings that helped dismiss the visitors for 193, still 248 runs behind New Zealand's first innings of 441.

McCullum held a summit meeting mid-pitch with his players before he enforced the follow-on, mindful that he had done the same in the first Test at University Oval in Dunedin only for the tourists to bat for 162 overs and fatigue his bowlers.

"The captaincy side of it was pretty easy to be honest because these guys kept bowling brilliant balls and kept putting them under pressure," McCullum told reporters.

"The hardest point (of the day) was whether to enforce the follow-on.

"Everyone had different theories but we knew the next couple days were anticipated to be pretty clear overhead and probably the best batting conditions.

"I still thought we could not have enforced the follow-on, batted again and I would have confidence that Ish (Sodhi) and Kane (Williamson) would have been able to spin them out later.

"There was some doubt there and I've always been a fan of if in doubt take the aggressive action ... (so) the decision was to back the seamers in favourable conditions and these guys responded brilliantly and thankfully it worked.

"So I certainly enjoyed Friday."

McCullum's bowlers made steady progress throughout the day by applying pressure at crucial times with Tim Southee and Neil Wagner drying up the runs after lunch that allowed Southee to capture three wickets in the session.

While they still needed five wickets after tea to wrap up the match inside three days, McCullum felt that Boult's stunning one-handed catch to snare wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin was the moment that ensured they would seal victory on Friday.

"That catch was pretty key," McCullum said.

"It was starting to get a bit dark and I thought we might have to come back on Saturday and try to finish them off.

"But that catch was a real sign the momentum was with us and luck was going to go our way though (Trent) won't say it was lucky.

"To me that was the pivotal moment because it exposed their bowlers and gave us a real shot."

Read more on:    new zealand  |  brendon mccullum  |  cricket
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