Fiery Fer­gu­son knocks on door

Herald on Sunday - - IN OTHER NEWS - By Andrew Alder­son

The New Zealand test bowl­ing ranks look set­tled for the up­com­ing se­ries against the West Indies, but Lockie Fer­gu­son’s flurry of wick­ets against Otago at Eden Park Outer Oval was a re­minder other as­pi­rants loom on the pe­riph­ery.

Fer­gu­son took ca­reer-best fig­ures of 12 wick­ets for 78 runs in Auck­land’s 135-run Plun­ket Shield vic­tory, de­spite bowl­ing with a frac­tured right thumb.

He suf­fered the in­jury from a Doug Bracewell de­liv­ery in the loss to Cen­tral Dis­tricts at Nel­son. It failed to di­lute his hos­tile spells.

The 26-year-old right-armer gen­er­ated pace and bounce at will to dom­i­nate a game which in­cluded test in­cum­bent Neil Wag­ner in the vis­i­tors’ line-up.

Fer­gu­son took seven for 34 from 15 overs in the first in­nings, and five for 44 from 19.1 overs in the sec­ond to com­plete the win for Auck­land, who suf­fered de­feats in the open­ing two rounds.

His in­swingers hooped into the right-han­ders. That fac­tor was

com­ple­mented by sig­nif­i­cant seam move­ment, enough bounce to jus­tify close-in field­ers on the leg­side, and the odd de­liv­ery which held its line to coax an edge.

Speed radar in­for­ma­tion is un­avail­able at first-class level, but few of Fer­gu­son’s de­liv­er­ies would have trav­elled at less than 145km/h.

“I’ve been work­ing on some plans to get into bat­ters’ minds and set ap­pro­pri­ate fields in­stead of just run­ning in quick to try to get them out,” he said.

“Eden Park Outer Oval’s not al­ways the eas­i­est place to bowl. It tends to be flat and a runs-fest, but my game has come on in leaps and bounds since I’ve been work­ing with An­dre Adams as my bowl­ing coach.

“We didn’t nec­es­sar­ily see eye-to­eye to start with be­cause we’re both hot­heads, but we’ve had good con­ver­sa­tions since,” Fer­gu­son said.

Fer­gu­son can ex­pect a sterner ex­am­i­na­tion when Auck­land meet North­ern Dis­tricts in the Plun­ket Shield’s fourth round start­ing on Wed­nes­day.

ND are ex­pected to field their test play­ers, many of whom have just re­turned from the In­dian tour. He will get a true gauge of his worth bowl­ing against NZ cap­tain Kane Wil­liamson and po­ten­tially BJ Wat-ling, if he over­comes the hip in­jury which kept him out of the last two games.

North­ern Dis­tricts’ Trent Boult, Tim Southee and Mitchell Sant­ner, along­side Wag­ner and Auck­land’s Colin de Grand­homme are ex­pected to form New Zealand’s bowl­ing axis for the first test against the West Indies start­ing on De­cem­ber 1 in Welling­ton.

Auck­land’s Lockie Fer­gu­son took 12 wick­ets for 78 runs against Otago.

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