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Tim Southee and Trent Boult to blame for New Zealand’s meek surrender to Australia

Australia, Tim Southee, Boult, New Zealand
New Zealand’s attack, led by Southee and Boult, struggled to find anywhere near as much swing as Australia’s fast men.

One year ago New Zealand’s Tim Southee and Trent Boult were considered the world’s best opening red ball pair, on par with Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander. The duo, coached by former Kiwi pacer Shane Bond, were set to dominate Test batsmen for years to come. And then, after the 2015 World Cup, Bond quit as the national team’s bowling coach – a position he had held since October 2012 – and Southee and Boult haven’t been the same since.

It’s not rocket science to see the impact Bond’s departure had on the two premier pacers. His replacement, Dimitri Mascarenhas, seems out of his depth. Over the course of their recent summer, New Zealand played five Tests against Trans-Tasman rivals Australia, three away and two at home. In each of the five Tests the New Zealand attack, led by Southee and Boult, failed to take 20 wickets even once – the minimum pre-requisite of winning a Test match. Particularly jarring was the fact that while the first two matches in Australia were played on ‘roads’, the match at Adelaide and the two in New Zealand were on seaming and swinging wickets.

Across the five Tests, Josh Hazlewood was the highest wicket-taker with 22 scalps. Boult did finish with a respectable 18 wickets but it came at an abysmal average of 42.11. Tim Southee could only muster nine wickets in the five Tests at an embarrassing average of over 60. In between the series’ he did manage 13 wickets in two home Test against Sri Lanka, but Bendon McCullum alluded that Southee may be on the cusp of being dropped. “Tim’s got some challenges in the next little while,” said the now-retired former captain.

Unfortunately for Southee, Neil Wagner played just one Test in five and picked up seven wickets, doing his chances of a permanent place no harm. Matt Henry has been exceptional in limited overs cricket recently and Adam Milne’s pace ensures he always stands a chance of a Test call-up.

Over the past few years, the New Zealand bowling attack has been selected around Southee and Boul. From now on it won’t be so straightforward. And maybe it’s time to bring back Bond.

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