Home > Features >

BJ Watling’s resilience against India showcases his credentials as Test batsman

BJ Watling (in picture) played second fiddle to Brendon McCullum during their epic partnership, but he stamped his potential as a genuine Test batsman © Getty Images
BJ Watling (in picture) played second fiddle to Brendon McCullum during their epic partnership, but he stamped his potential as a genuine Test batsman © Getty Images

BJ Watling was the second fiddle in the marathon partnership with Brendon McCullum for New Zealand against India in the second Test. McCullum broke many records along the way, but the duo shared a world record stand for the sixth wicket. Watling looked hardly troubled by the Indian bowlers in the second innings as he helped New Zealand to a commanding position. Shrikant Shankar feels Watling showed that he has the skills and temperament to do well in Test cricket.

Brendon McCullum was imperious in his unbeaten innings of 281 against India in the second Test in Wellington. He broke several records along the way and is set to become the first New Zealand batsman to score a triple century. McCullum was involved in another impressive record during the course of his innings. He shared a world-record 352 runs for the sixth-wicket with BJ Watling. They broke the record set by Mahela Jayawardene and Prasanna Jayawardene. The Sri Lankan pair added 351 runs against India at Ahmedabad in 2009.

Watling contributed 124 runs in the marathon partnership with McCullum, who scored 210 runs. Watling took 367 deliveries to score his runs with a strike-rate of 33.78. He struck 13 fours in his innings. This was Watling’s third century in 21 Test matches. The New Zealand wicketkeeper-batsman showed a solid defensive technique and put away the loose deliveries in his innings. He does not have the extravagant strokes that McCullum possesses, but he displayed extraordinary resilience and temperament during the duration of his innings.

He came in at a time when New Zealand were at 94 for five. New Zealand were trailing India by 152 runs and looked like they could lose by an innings. India helped New Zealand along the way as Virat Kohli dropped McCullum on nine at short mid-on and Ishant Sharma dropped him of his own bowling on 36. After that, both McCullum and Watling gave no inch away en route to their record partnership. Watling was undeterred by the situation and slowly chipped away at the deficit. The Indian bowlers did not bowl all that badly, but Watling frustrated them throughout.

Watling scored the run that got him and McCullum the world record. But soon after, Watling was dismissed by Mohammed Shami just after tea on Day Four. It was the third new ball that did the trick as he played a tired defensive shot to an incoming delivery from the Indian seamer. There was a relief when he got out, but New Zealand were leading by 200 runs at the time. New Zealand did not lose any further wickets as McCullum and James Neesham added 125 runs till the close of play. New Zealand lead by 325 runs at stumps. This innings from Watling goes a long way in defining him as a Test batsman.

The unassuming wicketkeeper-batsman now has three centuries at an average of 35.22. He has also scored six half-centuries. Watling does not have the greatest of strike-rates at 43.17. But New Zealand are a team that have struggled to score a lot of runs in Tests. They rely heavily on McCullum, Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson to get them the big runs. But if Watling shows similar composure and temperament in the future, he is sure to be another batsman New Zealand can bank on. His innings also came under heavy pressure, so, this will do his confidence a world of good.

He has certainly proved that he is cut out for Test cricket as a wicketkeeper-batsman. Watling has the skills to back him up as well. One can expect greater things from him in the future for New Zealand.

(Shrikant Shankar is a writer/reporter at CricketCountry.com. Previously he has done audio commentary for various matches involving India, Indian Premier League and Champions League Twenty20 for ESPNSTAR.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Shrikant_23)

South Africa tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Jul 24, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 24, 2014 (12:30 IST)   at Bulawayo

India tour of England 2014

Jul 27, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Southampton

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 6, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Galle

India tour of England 2014

Aug 7, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Manchester

More

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 22, 2014  at Bulawayo

Afghanistan won by 2 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 20, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 8 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 18, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 6 wkts

India tour of England 2014

Jul 17, 2014  at London

India won by 95 runs

South Africa tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Jul 16, 2014  at Galle

South Africa won by 153 runs

Photos

Gallery: India vs England 2nd Test at Lord's

Videos

Alastair Cook jokes about his bowling

India’s wins in England — from 1971 to 2014

Ravindra Jadeja knighted by her majesty Queen Elizabeth II

India’s win over England in 2nd Test at Lord’s: Twitter reactions

Ishant Sharma pummels England into submission as India clinch Lord’s Test by 95 runs

Ishant Sharma registers name at Lord’s honours board, takes 6 wickets in 2nd Test against England

Bhuvneshwar Kumar England England vs India England vs India 2014 India India tour of England 2014 India vs England India vs England 2014 Ishant Sharma MS Dhoni South Africa South Africa tour of Sri Lanka 2014 Sri Lanka Sri Lanka vs South Africa Sri Lanka vs South Africa 2014

Sachin Tendulkar: Century at Perth in 1992 against Australia changed my career

Ishant Sharma latest to feature in Amul’s ad after India’s win in 2nd Test against England

Hashim Amla lauds Imran Tahir ahead of Sri Lanka vs South Africa second Test at Colombo

India tour of England 2014: Sourav Ganguly backs Alastair Cook as the skipper

Ishant Sharma signs deal with Cornerstone Sport

India vs England 3rd Test at The Ageas bowl: A sneak peek into England squad

Mohammad Irfan hopes Pakistani players will play in IPL

Stuart Binny and the selection conundrum for India’s third Test against England at Southampton

Can America be the ‘Land of Opportunity’ for cricket?

Graham Gooch’s fabulous numbers in all forms of cricket

Fan of the Day

Fan Cricket

Fan Cricket

11 Posts | 2 Fans

Brazil vs Netherlands, 3rd place Fifa World Cup 2014 match Video Highlights

Ishant Sharma latest to feature in Amul’s ad after India’s win in 2nd Test against England

Diet Tip #23 – Switch to rice bran oil for better health

Taiwan plane crash: 51 killed as plane crashes during emergency landing

Apple OS X Yosemite beta will be available to the public from tomorrow

Alia Bhatt feels she is too young to work with Shah Rukh, Salman and Aamir!

Sachin Tendulkar: Century at Perth in 1992 against Australia changed my career

BJP calls Sania Mirza ‘daughter-in-law’ of Pakistan, criticises Telangana for honouring her

Research questions satellite data over Antarctic sea expansion

Moon Moon Sen and Arindam Seal will also be honoured at Mahanayak Uttam Kumar Samman!

TransAsia Airways makes emergency landing in Taiwan, more than 50 feared dead

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here