Tom Latham, New Zealand batsman, passes spin test yet again | Hindustan Times
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Tom Latham, New Zealand batsman, passes spin test yet again

Tom Latham has a wonderful record in Tests and ODIs in Asia and his unbeaten 100 in the Wankhede ODI against Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team highlights his ability to tackle spin.

india vs new zealand 2017 Updated: Oct 24, 2017 09:14 IST
Sidharth Gulati
New Zealand's Tom Latham tackled spin brilliantly as he led the Black Caps to a win over India in the first ODI at Wankhede Stadium.
New Zealand's Tom Latham tackled spin brilliantly as he led the Black Caps to a win over India in the first ODI at Wankhede Stadium. (AFP)

“It’s one of the greatest chases I’ve seen, certainly in my time as a Black Cap,” said Kane Williamson, who witnessed two of his team-mates achieve a rare thing – overshadow a Virat Kohli ton.

At 80/3, with Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal in stupendous form, nobody would’ve expected New Zealand to chase down 281. But Tom Latham and Ross Taylor easily batted away everything that India’s pace and spin attack could throw.

Latham’s ton in Wankhede has everyone talking about how this is another one of Williamson’s innovative captaincy moves

‘Bloody Genius’ Again

New Zealand’s loss to Bangladesh in the ICC Champions Trophy left a lot of unanswered questions. The opening combination needed an overhaul following Luke Ronchi’s retirement.

Jimmy Neesham and Neil Broom had failed to rise to the occasion and Corey Anderson’s never-ending injury problems signaled a major problem.

Heading into the India series, Williamson needed fresh ideas. In the batting, Tom Latham, their new No. 5, played a knock of such magnitude that it has not only pushed his side closer to a historic series win in India but also given flexibility the team is looking for.

READ | Ross Taylor praises ‘young’ Tom Latham for match-winning ton vs India in 1st ODI

Williamson’s ploy to go with three spinners against India during the 2016 ICC World T20 game in Nagpur was termed ‘Bloody Genius’ and now the Latham move seems similar to that.

The left-handed batsman made the Indian spinners ineffective with sweep shots, reverse-sweeps and deft placements.

In sub-continent conditions, overseas batsmen have rarely employed the sweep shot -- both with and against the spin -- to perfection in the past few years. But Latham’s ton is an example why he could master the Asian conditions in future.

Continued good show

On the last tour of India, Tom Latham was New Zealand’s highest run-getter in the ODI series. In 2017, he has continued his great run.

Latham’s great run in Asia started during an ODI against Sri Lanka in 2013. Chasing a revised target of 198 in 23 overs, it was Latham’s 68-ball 86 that countered the spin duo of Rangana Herath and Sachithra Senanayake to guide New Zealand to an unlikely win.

READ | Dinesh Karthik defends Indian cricket team spinners after loss to New Zealand

During the Tests against Pakistan in the UAE in 2014, Latham slammed two tons as New Zealand drew the series 1-1 against a side that had hammered Australia 2-0 before this series.

So far, he has averaged more than 43 in both Tests and ODIs in Asia – a rarity for an overseas batsman.

Taylor says it right

Ross Taylor said having Tom Latham in the middle-order would give New Zealand much-needed consistency they’ve been searching for.

“For positions five and six, we’ve been searching for a bit of consistency. Tom hopefully can continue not only in the new role as keeper but to bat at five and score a very successful fifty, hundred,” he said.

Latham’s ton has given New Zealand a good chance of ending the Indian cricket team’s domination.

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