Fiery Ferguson knocks on door
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.