The first test between New Zealand and South Africa, Blackcaps and Proteas, saw the Kiwis thrash the South Africans by a record margin. The fact that they did it without their key players, the big trio; Williamson, Taylor and Boult, speaks volumes on their squad’s depth. A big role in their victory belonged to Matt Henry. He produced the best bowling figures at home for New Zealand bowlers.
South Africans might deny it, but the strict 10-day quarantine surely had a role in their heavy defeat. The New Zealand players, were lucky, being at ease at home or the hotel.
Henry on team’s win and his performance at his home ground
“Everyone offers something slightly different and it creates a bit more versatility and balance for the captain. He can put people on in different roles and keep trying to put pressure on in different ways,” Henry said.
“This is my home ground and I understand how to operate here. I knew how I wanted to bowl and going in with confidence helps,” Henry said. “At Hagley, especially on day one, there is always pace and bounce in the wicket. Most of us bowlers were pretty excited when we won the toss to have a bowl. But when you do get in that situation, it’s important to bowl in the right areas and get batters to play and make as many decisions as possible.”
Henry on the bowling conditions at Canterbury
Henry has played for more than a decade at Canterbury. And he has learnt that it can be easy for bowlers to overestimate the assistance they will get when they see the venue’s green surface, but that doesn’t necessarily mean things will just happen for them. They must understand how to make best use of conditions and Henry, through years of playing on them, has edge over the other bowlers.
“I like to try and hit the strings and get as much bounce as I possibly can, as well as a bit of seam movement,” he said. “For me, I’ve got to come in with a good bit of intent and make sure I get batters to play as much as possible.”
“We are missing some key players (Ross Taylor, Kane Williamson and Boult) and there has been talk about South Africa being such a quality side and what’s happened in the past (New Zealand have never beaten South Africa in a Test series),” Henry says. “For us, it’s not getting too caught up in that and, it sounds cliche, but just doing our jobs and sticking to our roles.”