Saying that Trent Boult is having a ball in Hamilton would be an understatement. A perfect package for any side, Boult has scored crucial runs at 11, picked wickets with the red cherry and took a nearly impossible catch off his own bowling only two left everyone bewildered. Although it would be early to term him an impactful all-rounder, but Boult has been impressive with the bat on numerous occasion.
A conventional left-arm swing bowler, Trent Boult has been a force to be reckoned across formats. His priceless ability to move the leather prodigiously both ways stand him out from his imminent peers. Boult is the kind of a bowler, who doesn’t rely on conditions to move the ball, he can do that on passive surfaces as well.
Let’s talk about his contribution with the bat. First and foremost, runs from the tail is frustrating for the bowling side and a bonus to the one achieving it. Not many teams have a tail that yield runs, but New Zealand do bat deep, which is always a huge advantage. At times, it is very difficult for the fielding side to get rid of the tail easily and could be a thorn.
When New Zealand were put into bat first, at 312 for 9, the game was evenly poised between both the side. Boult combined well with Tim Southee to put New Zealand in a better position with a tenacious 61-run stand. He was unbeaten on, 37 off 27 deliveries, which included five boundaries and a couple of sixes. Certainly a top-class stuff under pressure.
“Believe it or not, I take a lot of pride in my batting. Any contribution from not just myself, but the lower order is very pivotal I guess. The first innings is one where we want to go big… a combination of runs as well as keeping their bowlers out there,” Boult was quoted in a report by stuff.co.nz.
Boult averages just over 16 in Test cricket, which is outstanding for someone who usually bats at 11. Till date, he has scored 529 runs in 68 Test innings and also has a Test fifty to his name.
After doing a commendable job with the bat, Boult steamed in to wrap four wickets in his basket with the ball. Shimron Hetmyer and Kraigg Brathwaite were building a steady partnership for the third wicket. Boult steamed in and pulled off a screamer to get rid of Hetmyer. No adjectives could have described this incredible effort by Boult. He is a fine combination of brute force and finesse.
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Not many expect this kind of effort from a frontline fast bowler. Many seamers have a reputation for being a mediocre fielder, but with the evolving standards of the game, even this breed of cricketers have pulled their game up. This exhibition by Boult is a testament to this amazing fitness and mind-boggling athleticism.
Boult got rid of Sunil Ambris to scalp his second wicket of the innings and didn’t stop there. On the next day, West Indies resumed batting with their overnight score of 215 for 8. Boult cleaned up Miguel Cummins and Shannon Gabriel in two consecutive deliveries to wrap things up for 221. New Zealand gained a healthy lead and did well to set a target of 444 runs for the West Indies.
New Zealand declared their innings minutes before the stumps with an intent to scalp an early wicket or two. Boult helped them achieve so by getting rid of Kieran Powell for a duck in his very first over. Moments later, Tim Southee got rid of Hetmyer to put West Indies in hot water at stumps on Day 3. One can expect Boult to trouble the West Indies batsmen and pick wickets once the game resumes on Day 4.
Boult also spoke about the 4-day Tests that has been the talk for the town for a while now. Speaking to the stuff.co.nz, Boult said, “I’d love Test cricket, so I’d love to see it stay as it always has. In terms of shortening it to let it become aggressive, I don’t think there’s any need. There are other formats for that sort of thing. You want to have an even competition or contest between bat and ball. There’s some good wickets going around at the moment and the balls aren’t moving, so that’s what I’d love to see – I wouldn’t want it any shorter to encourage aggression.