Henry on NZ’s batting – ‘It’s not a concern’

New Zealand

He second-top-scored for New Zealand in the second Test running with an important 29 as they were bowled out for 162 having been sent into bat on a seam-friendly Hagley Oval pitch. Josh Hazlewood put on a supreme display of bowling to take 5 for 31

Henry was then equally good during his turn, prising out three of Australia’s top four including the in-form Cameron Green to keep New Zealand in the contest. But despite bearing a heavy load, he refused to put any blame on New Zealand’s batters after they were bowled out for under 200 for the third successive innings.

“It’s not a concern,” Henry said. “I think looking at our batting line-up we’ve got world-class players there. They’ve been fantastic for a number of years. I [haven’t] got any doubt that they’ll be great and they’ll be fine moving forward. It’s day one of a Test match. The ball is allowed to move around and guys are allowed to bowl well. That’s what happens when you come across world-class performers. They have their day sometimes.”

Henry instead heaped praise on Hazlewood saying he provided the perfect example for the New Zealand bowling group to follow.

“Josh bowled exceptionally well,” he said. “Obviously watching him go about his work today, it was probably a bit of a blueprint for how we wanted to bowl out there as well. It was a matter of being accurate for a long period of time and creating pressure and he did that beautifully and thankfully we managed to do that in periods tonight as well and to get a few poles.”

There were times though during Australia’s reply when it looked like tough Test cricket at one end and very comfortable batting at the other. Henry was nearly unplayable as he worked over Australia’s top-order with relentless pressure.

He finally got the slice of luck he deserved when Usman Khawaja was bowled around his legs after the ball clipped the underside of his thigh pad and ricocheted onto leg stump. He later set up Green with a superb sequence. Green continued his Wellington plan of skipping down to Henry to disrupt his length. Henry kept dragging his length back and beat the edge multiple times. The first time Green stayed at home, Henry pushed fuller and seamed one in through the gate to hit the top of off via the pad.

But in between times Green and Marnus Labuschagne profited from some very unthreatening bowling from Tim Southee and Scott Kuggeleijn. Labuschagne shook any concerns about his form, playing beautifully under pressure to finish 45 not out at stumps.

The debutant Ben Sears showed some promise to help Henry out by dismissing Steven Smith, who made a horrible misjudgment padding up to a full delivery that was projected to be crashing into off stump.

“It doesn’t get much better than that for a first wicket does it,” Henry said. “Searsy is a quiet man and he works really hard. Obviously being a young fast bowler for him to start his career like that was outstanding. I think he showed today so much control and excitement and he kind of got the ball rolling for us.

“I think we were obviously bowling well and not much was happening and he was able to get that first breakthrough and we could build some momentum from there. Absolutely stoked for the way that he started.”

Henry said it would be critical for New Zealand to bowl well at the start of day two as Australia have a chance of setting up a significant first-innings lead. “Tomorrow morning will be a big moment with the ball. We’ll make sure that we come out there and hopefully we can take some early wickets and put Australia under some pressure and then get back into some batting.”

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