Trent Boult, the New Zealand fast bowler, has insisted that he is improving with each spell ever since his recovery from a back injury last summer. Boult, who has played limited amount of cricket in the last few months, returned to the playing XI during the ongoing Test series against Zimbabwe and picked up four wickets in the first game.
In the second Test, he picked up a wicket in the first innings and one more out of the three to have fallen so far in the second essay. "I would have liked to take more wickets but that's the way it goes," Boult said following the fourth day's play. "I feel I am getting better with each spell."
Chasing 387 for victory, the hosts were reduced to 58 for 3 at stumps and Boult is quite content that his side doesn't need to pick more than seven wickets on the final day on a track that is 'unresponsive'.
"The challenge is the pace," he said. "It's been a wicket that we don't find where we come from. It's a testing surface but a good test at that. We know it is a very slow and unresponsive wicket. Nice to come back here and only have to grab seven."
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe batting coach, Lance Klusener, is hopeful of his middle order putting up a fight on the final day to save the Test. Having already shown signs of improvement with the bat by registering 362 in the first innings, Klusener revealed that his batsmen worked on making the opposition bowlers fight for their wickets.
"We are pretty confident we can bat for the day," Klusener said. "The pitch is pretty good and New Zealand have been in the field for a long time. From a team growth point of view, I am really looking forward to it."
"We wanted to place a value on our wickets. In the first Test match, there were a couple too many soft dismissals. There were a couple that were a bit soft again here but we were prepared to grind out tough sessions and bat time. We want to make sure bowlers work hard for our wickets, like we had to do for theirs," Klusener added.
The presence of Sean Williams, centurion from the first Test and Craig Ervine, the centurion from the first innings of the second Test, has given Klusener plenty of hope and he has now urged the rest of the batsmen to step up. "Their job is not finished," he said. "Craig was really organised. He had a good plan. That's where we need to get to with the other batsmen because it's one thing having a plan, but it's important to be comfortable with the plan."
Klusener also wants Zimbabwe to have a settled opening pair, while being impressed by Tino Mawoyo and Chamu Chibhabha's performances. The duo put on 65 for the opening wicket in Zimbabwe's first innings and had taken 36 overs for the partnership.
"Since I have been involved, I've noticed we've always struggled to get a good platform," he said. "Tino and Chamu have settled things a little bit and take some shine off the ball. I am extremely impressed with them and hopefully they can grow as a partnership together."
Date & Time: Jan 23, 04:00 pm LOCAL
Date & Time: Jan 23, 10:00 am LOCAL
Date & Time: Jan 23, 10:30 am LOCAL
Date & Time: Jan 24, 04:00 pm LOCAL
Date & Time: Jan 25, 10:00 am LOCAL
Date & Time: Jan 27, 04:00 pm LOCAL
Date & Time: Jan 30, 04:00 pm LOCAL
Date & Time: Jan 30, 11:40 am LOCAL
Date & Time: Jan 31, 04:00 pm LOCAL
Date & Time: Feb 2, 02:10 pm LOCAL