New Zealand pacer Tim Southee has said that taking wickets in the morning session on Day Two of the first Test against India was the best pain killer for the injury he suffered on the opening day. He also expressed happiness over openers Will Young and Tom Latham doing well with the bat, stitching a stand of 129 runs.
Southee was the star of Day Two for New Zealand, picking four wickets on a slow pitch on Friday to end with figures of 5/69, bagging his 13th five-wicket haul in Test cricket. It was a big turnaround for the veteran pacer, who had to go off the field due to a groin complaint in the second session on Day One.
“I felt something pretty tight in the groin area and was trying to make sure it wasn’t going to be anything hell lot worse. Very assuring to know that wasn’t muscular, it was more on the tendon. Having played a lot of cricket, you get to play through some sort of stiffness or soreness. Had a bit of physio last night and with some painkillers, was able to play through a little bit of pain. I think the best pain killer is wickets, so that sort of numbed the pain a little bit this morning," said Southee in the virtual press conference after Day Two.
Talking about what worked for him while running through the rest of India batting order, Southee put it down to varying lengths and extensive planning. “I guess lengths wary in different conditions You try to assess that as quickly as you possibly can. I think with the new ball, just hitting that length this morning was key. We did a lot of planning for the series in ways to get a batsman out. There was a little bit of reverse at times. It’s just about asking tough questions for a long period of time."
The 32-year-old gave credit to his previous trips to the country for doing well on Friday. “I think any wicket you take is always special. It’s always nice to do well in this part of the world, where spin plays a massive role. As a seamer, it is always nice to do well in such conditions. I was fortunate to come to this part of the world as a youngster and learned a lot from those trips early on in my career."
“The hunger to get better each time you go out there and represent your country and looking at different ways to learn and get better throughout as well has helped. I guess the main skill is swinging with the new ball and training a lot with the older ball in order to be a threat with it and looking at ways to find wickets in sub-continent conditions which are so foreign to home conditions."
Southee was in praise of how day two went in their favour, adding that the tourists will look to play session by session on Saturday. “I think it was a great day for us. We knew we had to make early inroads with the new ball against two guys who were set and playing nicely. It was nice to take wickets early in the morning and create a few chances. Overall, it was a pretty solid performance after being asked to bowl first. Then our openers who have gone out and played has been exceptional. I think we have been used to Tom Latham being solid at the top of the order but for someone like Will Young, who hasn’t played any cricket since the World Test Championship final, to go out the way he has played, has been great to watch as well."
“We won’t look too far ahead and will take it a session at a time. It’s nice to be in a position where we are in but there’s a lot of hard work as India are a quality side and their bowlers are quality in these conditions. We will have to be on top of our game tomorrow and take it session by session."