Eden Park true test of bowlers

Eden Park, a "unique ground". Photo: Getty Images
Eden Park, a "unique ground". Photo: Getty Images
A quick whip-round of the bowlers would probably not generate much moolah for the cash-strapped Eden Park.

As a collective, the Black Caps bowling unit would surely be quite keen to see the back of those impossibly short straight boundaries.

They might not have too long to wait either. The venue faces a dire financial struggle.

A recent report commissioned by Auckland Council suggests the country's premier stadium could amass losses of nearly $80 million during the next decade.

While Eden Park's future is uncertain, none of that will help stand-in skipper Tim Southee in tonight's one-off twenty20 against Sri Lanka at the ground.

He will have to come up with some creative solution as he wrestles with its tiny dimensions.

"It is always good fun to come to Eden Park," he said.

"It has not always been that good for the batters. There has been a couple of times when the ball has dominated, so fingers crossed [today] could be one of those days as well.

"It is obviously a unique ground with the boundary sizes. We are very fortunate a number of the guys have played a lot of cricket here, so there is a lot of experience we can call upon.

"But it is a true test for the bowlers and there are not too many margins for error."

The Black Caps completed a 3-0 one-day series wash of Sri Lanka but struggled to take wickets at the top of the innings and contain batsmen at the death.

Southee said the team discussed those issues and a T20 match at Eden Park certainly provided an opportunity to confront those perceived flaws.

"It was nice to win 3-0 but we know as a group there is a lot of things to work on before what is going to be a massive series against India.

"As an international cricketer you are always looking for ways to improve and get better."

With India arriving later this month and a one-day World Cup later in the year, you could forgive the Black Caps if they were a little distracted.

Coach Gary Stead is skipping the game and regular captain Kane Williamson is having a rest as well.

The game will be more important for the fringe players such as Doug Bracewell and Tim Seifert, who will be keen to impress.

There will be plenty of interest in the form of left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner, who has not played for the Black Caps since knee surgery in March.

Jimmy Neesham has been ruled out with a hamstring strain, so Bracewell appears poised to get the opportunity which eluded him during the one-day series.

While the bowling group might be last on the bus to the venue tonight, the batsmen will have "a spring in their step".

Ross Taylor and Henry Nicholls scored centuries during their last trip to the middle and Colin Munro is one of the best T20 batsmen in the world. His opener partner Martin Guptill scored a ton in the opening one-dayer as well, so the Black Caps boast a formidable top order.

"There is plenty of confidence and form amongst the batters, so hopefully they can continue that."

 

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