Tim Southee (above) and other Kiwi bowlers had a hard first day against Pakistan in the first Test © Getty Images
Trent Boult (above) and other Kiwi bowlers had a hard first day against Pakistan in the first Test © Getty Images

New Zealand’s bowling line-up Tim Southee apart does not seem to have the ability to run through a side. This has been a reason for them not winning Test series outside of home for sometime now. Indrajit Dutta sheds light on how this problem may continue to affect them in the future

The New Zealand bowling coach is Shane Bond. Brendon Mc Cullum must have been hoping for somebody like Bond after his team saw Pakistan pile up 269 for one on the first day of the opening Test on Sunday.

Brendon McCullum’s side need a spark of magic from somewhere if they are to stop Pakistan from racking up yet another massive total. Going by evidence of their bowling on Sunday the spark of magic is as distant as can be.

One of the problems that the Kiwi bowling line-up experiences is the lack of an out an out pace bowler or a spinner who can run through the side. Tim Southee and Trent Boult are fine bowlers who at their best can swing the dangerously at a decent clip. On a docile wicket in Abu Dhabi, however, the duo look very unlikely to restrict Pakistan for a score less than 400.

The presence of Adam Milne, who consistently bowls in the mid 140s or even higher, could have made a difference. He, however, has been prey to injury frequently in his short career. It is injury that did not see him play against South Africa and has kept him out this tour. Sheer pace can unsettle a batsman on any wicket, his services may have been valuable here.

In the spin department the Kiwis have been found wanting. Traditionally spin has not been New Zealand’s strength. It is true that Daniel Vettori has had a lot of success but it has been swing and pace which the Kiwis have relied on more often than not. Vettori’s experience, though,  could have come in handy against the Pakistanis.

At present, however, Ish Sodhi and Mark Craig do not look as if they will cause the Pakistani batsmen to lose sleep because of their bowling.  Both Sodhi and Craig lack penetration, furthermore Pakistan are a side that is known for playing spin well.

In conditions that do not favour them, such as a dry wicket or a featherbed, the New Zealand bowling attack more often than not struggle. It has to be said they do not have the resources to trouble the batsmen in these conditions. As a result New Zealand often turn defensive while bowling.

This problem does not look like disappearing overnight. To compound this they have slipped in the rankings. Furthermore the game is not very popular there, therefore one does not see hordes of children queuing up to play the sport.  To unearth somebody  who can bowl at a furious pace or a world class spinner is harder than it is in some other countries. How shall New Zealand cricket combat this will be interesting.

Before that New Zealand have to find a way to prevent Pakistan from racking up yet another massive total.

(Indrajit Dutta is a reporter with CricketCountry. He is also a published poet and author. His Twitter handle is @duttaindro)