ICL: Indian Cricket League

Top order not up to scratch - Bracewell


New Zealand coach John Bracewell has said that the failure of the top order in New Zealand’s two warm-up matches was a worry ahead of the first Test against South Africa starting on Thursday.

New Zealand began their tour with a 216-run win against a South African Invitational XI in Bloemfontein but lost their second game against South Africa A by 85 runs in Potchefstroom. Bracewell said the players found it tough to get going after a brief lay-off since the ICC World Twenty20 in South Africa last month.

“The reality is that the top order is not performing to the standard required,” Bracewell told NZPA. “The simple fact is that we are coming out of the winter break and the conditions have been fairly tough in both the matches we’ve played.”

Michael Papps, Scott Styris, Stephen Fleming and Jacob Oram have struggled for runs in the tour so far, with opener Craig Cumming the only player among the top four to have managed a half-century. Ross Taylor came in for praise for his 86 in Potchefstroom as the visitors were set a challenging 358 to win. In both games, captain Daniel Vettori stood out for his displays with the bat, scoring 99 and 83 lower down the order.

“It’s pleasing how the middle and lower order have been firing so well and it’s been a traditional thing for us to share the runs through the batting order,” Bracewell said. “It was great to see Ross Taylor bat so well and he showed how to bat on an indifferent pitch, with good application, and hopefully that understanding goes through to the top order as well. We just need to tough it out, to dig into our character. It’s not for a want of trying or a want of hard work.”

Vettori concurred with Bracewell’s views that the team had plenty to think about ahead of the two-Test series. “We put in some good bowling performances, with Oram in particular doing very well, and the lower order played well, but we didn’t get off to a good start in either innings,” Vettori told Supercricket. “We’ll have to talk about the things that went wrong and we’ll all have to take responsibility for our performances. We know we have a very hard task if we are to beat South Africa in the two Tests.”

Source:Cricket News

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