Lack of sustained pressure: Tim Southee acknowledges lapse in NZ bowlers’ performance

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Lack of batting partnerships and accurate bowling for long periods brought New Zealand’s downfall in Sylhet, according to their captain Tim Southee, after the visitors went down by 150 runs for their first Test defeat in Bangladesh. The two sides went toe-to-toe at the end of their respective first innings, but the home side pulled ahead with a strong performance in the third innings, before bowling out New Zealand for 181 on the fifth morning. Southee said that Bangladesh were accurate for longer periods and praised his opposite number Najmul Hossain Shanto for striking an opportune century. “You look at the way that the Bangladesh bowlers were able to apply pressure for a long period of time. I think we did it in periods, but we probably didn’t do it for long enough,” Southee said. “You are always looking at partnerships as a batting unit. I think Shanto played a great innings. It was obviously a very timely one as well, given the situation of the game. There’s many things you can look back on and as a side, you’re just looking to improve and hopefully, learn from this and move forward in a few days. “I think the Bangladesh bowlers bowled well, and very accurate, and in the way they bowl and the style they bowl, we know that in this part of the world, it tends to get harder to bat as the Test moves on. It tends to take a little bit more turn and a little bit more variable bounce. You just need a couple of partnerships.” Southee insisted that New Zealand chose the best playing XI in Sylhet as the likes of Kyle Jamieson, Ajaz Patel and Ish Sodhi have been performing well recently, especially in the subcontinent. “You look at the conditions and you look at the squad you’ve got, and you pick your best XI. You look at the bowling group and KJ (Kyle Jamieson) has been a phenomenal performer for us. “Ish Sodhi was the Player of the Series in the last series that he played, and AJ (Ajaz Patel) has been a great bowler for us in this part of the world. I think you look at it at the start of the Test, and you pick your strongest side, which you think is going to win you the game.” New Zealand also batted at a slower pace than Bangladesh, which many felt bogged them down in pressure situations. Southee defended his batters’ style of play compared to Bangladesh’s attacking mantra. “I think it comes back to the nature of the play. I think Kane Williamson likes to absorb pressure in different ways to someone like Darryl Mitchell. “I think it’s about trusting your own style and the only way you go about it. If you look at Shanto’s method, it is different to someone like Mominul’s. So it’s about how you go about it and trusting your way,” he said. Southee, however, said that tiredness wasn’t a factor in New Zealand’s performance in Sylhet. “There’s been a number of fresh guys coming in. Three or four of them have been playing domestic cricket. We had a little bit of a break after the World Cup. I think as players, you know that it’s a busy schedule. You know what’s in front of you. “You’re trying to freshen up as well as you can. The guys were in good spirits before this. It’s been a long time on the road for some but that’s part and parcel of being an international cricketer.” Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

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