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India vs New Zealand: Tom Latham says 2016 series a learning curve

Tom Latham, who smashed a century in the first ODI at the Wankhede stadium against Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team, has said the experience gained during the 2016 series which New Zealand lost 2-3 has helped the Kiwis adapt better in playing spin in this series.

india vs new zealand 2017 Updated: Oct 24, 2017 17:50 IST
Bihan Sengupta
Bihan Sengupta
Hindustan Times, Pune
India vs New Zealand,India national cricket team,New Zealand national cricket team
Tom Latham’s century in the first ODI at the Wankhede stadium has given New Zealand a great chance to seal their first series win in India as both teams prepare to square off in the Pune ODI. (PTI)

A couple of days before the series against India got underway, New Zealand coach Mike Hesson had stated that he would prefer Tom Latham to switch to the middle-order as he wanted his opening pair to give them a solid platform on top.

While that certainly didn’t go according to the plan, he would have been mighty pleased with the way the ploy to demote Tom Latham in the batting order has worked.

Latham struck a half-century in the first game and followed it up with two unbeaten tons in the second warm-up and the first ODI, thus helping his side take a 1-0 lead over India in the three-match series.

A shift in batting positions usually takes some time for a player to settle in but Latham, who had started his journey as a middle-order batsman, exactly knew what was required of him.

“It was nice to have those two warm-up games beforehand; and contribute in those games and start against spin. I have played in that position (No 5) before when I started playing for New Zealand. So, it’s not a position which is unfamiliar to me. It was more of a tactical shift than anything. Coming in the middle when the ball is little bit softer and playing a bit more spin. It is nice that I adapted quickly,” he said.

Latham built a record 200-run partnership with Ross Taylor on Sunday after coming in to bat with the scoreboard reading 81 for the loss of three wickets.

Playing spin in India is always a challenge for most visiting teams but barring the first warm-up game, the Kiwis didn’t look too troubled. India’s two wrist-spinners went for a combined 125 runs while picking up just one wicket and Latham stated that it was a result of the preparations back home.

“We had a lot of preparation back home, coming out of the winter, when we come to India, it is obviously massive focus on spin and we lucky enough to be here last year, so we knew a little bit how India played and watching them against the Australian team, so lot of work in terms of spin and playing in the middle, and it was nice that it came off the other day,” he added.

He also credited last year’s series, which ended 3-2 in favour of the hosts, as a learning curve. “Having that experience coming over here last year and contributing a little bit, it was nice to have that experience and took a little bit of confidence from those games. (I) put little bit of work in terms of coming over here and playing spin. On surfaces back home they were a little bit drier and quite responsive to spin. So, that was (a part) of the preparation. The series started well and the preparations are coming off.”

First Published: Oct 24, 2017 17:49 IST

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