Otago and New Zealand XI strike bowler Neil Wagner
received support from an unlikely source following a determined
bowling effort against England yesterday.
The left-armer is in a head-to-head battle with Wellington's
Mark Gillespie to nab the final spot in the Black Caps test
squad which is being kept vacant for a pace bowler.
Otago all-rounder Jimmy Neesham may have forced a change to
those plans with a fine performance of four for 65.
But Wagner has Ian Bell's vote. The England No 5 posted an
undefeated 127 on the opening day of the four-day game to
help England reach 357 for seven.
''I think Wagner ran in all day and was quite impressive,
actually,'' Bell said.
''[He has] Good pace and he looks like he was desperate to
get a place in the test team. So of all the bowlers he was
Gillespie might argue the point. He felt he had captured
Bell's wicket late in the day and appealed confidently for a
caught behind. He stood hands on hip and glared at the
batsman from a metre away when the decision went in favour of
Bell said he would have reviewed it straight away had it been
given out and if the technology was in use in the game. It is
While Wagner toiled hard for his two for 65 from 20 overs,
Neesham had more success in the wickets column.
He took three wickets in the morning session, including the
prized scalps of Kevin Pietersen and Jonathan Trott.
''It was very memorable. It was moving around a little bit
with the new ball and that was definitely the time to be
bowling,'' Neesham said.
''We did well to get a few wickets early. But I think they
took the honours. If we had kept them to 30 or 40 less it
probably would have been even.''