While the short-ball barrage that took out Mushfiqur Rahim was the most conspicuous aspect of New Zealand's attack in Wellington, Trent Boult has said the reverse swing they achieved at Basin Reserve was also a valuable addition to an armoury well stocked with swing and bouncers.
New Zealand used both reverse swing and the bouncer to skittle Bangladesh for 160 in the second innings, which turned the Wellington Test in the home side's favour despite conceding 595 in the first innings.
"A big positive from the Test match was that we got the ball to reverse swing eventually," Boult said. "Australia, the last time they came, taught us a lesson on ways to bowl sides out on flat wickets."
Boult said the ability to bowl short deliveries effectively was an asset to a bowling attack because it made the full deliveries more dangerous. "I think the short ball is a valuable skill for a fast bowler. I think people have to realise why we are bowling short in the first place. It is to upset the batsman and get them struck on the crease to make the fuller ball more effective."When you are bowling a short ball it is definitely not with the intention of hurting the batsman but to make your other skills more effective. I think it is a method that we have been using successfully for a while. I am sure there will be short-pitched bowling among the group, looking to put pressure on the opponents."Boult said it could be difficult to keep facing deliveries aimed at the throat, but felt Bangladesh had coped well by playing aggressively whenever the shot was directed downwind."It is a bit intimidating facing a barrage of short-pitched bowling. They played it nicely," Boult said. "They looked to be aggressive towards it and picked their times downwind and into the wind on when to play the shots. I am sure they got plans in place to adapt to it."Bangladesh's chances in the Wellington Test took a severe blow when Mushfiqur retired hurt in the second innings after he was hit on the head by a bouncer from Tim Southee, who had been targeting the batsman with short balls to exploit his injured finger. Boult said the prolonged use of the tactic depended on how successful it was.
"I think it depends on how the opposition played it. I think you are trying to read how uncomfortable they are feeling and the game plan they are bringing towards it," he said. "The Australians have played it quite nicely. So you have to quickly change your plans."We are hoping that it will be nice, seam bowling conditions [in Christchurch] where we can pitch the ball up and skin the cat a different way."
Tamim Iqbal, the Bangladesh opener who will be standing in as captain at Hagley Oval, said there was no reason to complain over the short deliveries.
"I think short ball is part of the game. I can't really complain about it," he said. "If we feel that a certain batsman is not comfortable, we might use those tactics. It is fair game. I said in the last press conference, we expect these things in this part of the world. When New Zealand or any other team go to our conditions, they expect spin. I am sure they don't complain about the ball spinning too much so why should we complain about bouncers?"