Tom Latham Leads New Zealand To First Series Win In The UK Since 1999
Tom Latham is an underrated weapon for the Black Caps. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
HAMILTON, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 29: Tom Latham of New Zealand bats during day 1 of the second Test match between New Zealand and England at Seddon Park on November 29, 2019 in Hamilton, New Zealand. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Tom Latham Leads New Zealand To First Series Win In The UK Since 1999

Tom Latham led the New Zealand team to a memorable 1-0 Test series triumph in the two-match series against hosts England, in the absence of injured Kane Williamson, which is their first in the UK since 1999.

Tom Latham, New Zealand vice-captain on Sunday said of their challengers for the World Test Championship crown, describing the Virat-Kohli unit as a “completely different side” from vanquished England.

New Zealand's Tom Latham, left, holds the winners' trophy as he stands with teammate Kane Williamson after their win in the second cricket test match against England at Edgbaston. (Photo | AP)
New Zealand’s Tom Latham holds the winners’ trophy.  (Photo | AP)

Tom Latham: India Has Got A Fantastic Set Of Bowlers And Quality Batsmen

Kane Williamson (elbow), BJ Watling (back), and Mitchel Santner (finger) were ruled out before the toss in the 2nd Test through injury and were replaced by Will Young, Tom Blundell, and Ajaz Patel. Trent Boult and Matt Henry shared the new ball in place of Tim Southee and Kyle Jamieson, while Daryl Mitchell replaced Colin de Grandhomme at number seven as New Zealand made as many as 6 changes from the 1st Test.

Asked where does he see the biggest danger from India coming, Latham said, “All around the board.”

“They’ve got a fantastic set of bowlers, a lot of quality batsmen that have scored runs in different conditions all round the world. They were over here a few years ago and played really well, so we know we’ll have to play well to beat them.”

Ishant Sharma (Photo by Dibyangshu SARKAR / AFP)
Ishant Sharma (Photo by Dibyangshu SARKAR / AFP)

While the team celebrated a fine series triumph, Tom Latham said the focus will shift to India in two days’ time.

“The preparation has been great but it’s important that we do shift our focus and adapt to a completely different side,” he said at the post-match press conference.

Ishant Sharma(3/36) and Rishabh Pant have been some of the best performers in the ongoing India intra-squad practice match in Southampton before the WTC final. Openers Shubman Gill (85 off 135 balls) and Rishabh Pant (121* off 94 balls) shone with the bat. Ravindra Jadeja scored an unbeaten 54 off 76 balls in India’s intra-squad practice match at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton. With the ball, Mohammed Siraj impressed with figures of 2/22 on the third day of the four-day practice match.

The duo of Henry Nicholls and Devon Conway are in terrific form of late. Henry Nicholls who has a Test career average of 43.4 has averaged 47.3 in 2020 and 65.5 in 2021 amassing more than 500 runs combined in the last two years. Devon Conway, who cemented his place in the side with 200 on debut in the series opener at Lord’s, produced another valuable inning of 80 in the 2nd Test against England.

Tom Latham Stresses On Celebrating Since It Was Their First Test Series Win Since 1999 In England

Tom Latham said that India’s performances on their tour of England in 2018 — albeit in a 4-1 series defeat — showed that they would be tough to beat at the Ageas Bowl. The inaugural WTC final is scheduled to be held in Southampton from June 18-23. With the match finishing in under four days, the Kiwis will get a day extra to rest and prepare for the India challenge.

“Great to put the feet up for a day, the big challenge coming up but looking forward to celebrating, haven’t won here since 1999, so celebrate tonight and then look forward,” Latham said.

“Great support from Kiwis, the English, and also back home. The atmosphere was amazing.”

New Zealand batsman Tom Latham acknowledges the crowd after reaching his century (Photo: AFP)
New Zealand batsman Tom Latham acknowledges the crowd after reaching his century (Photo: AFP)

New Zealand won the match by eight wickets and when asked what he would rate higher — a series triumph in England or a victory in the WTC final — Tom Latham said both.

“Both sounds pretty good. From our point of view, it was about coming here and focusing on these first two Test matches against England and trying to continue doing what we’ve been doing over a couple of years now.

“Now that we’ve ticked them off, it’s important that our focus shifts to India in a couple of days. It’s a fantastic achievement from the group. I think it’s important that we celebrate with each other. It hasn’t been done since ’99. It’s certainly an achievement that’s worth celebrating.”

“For us to come here as a group, it was about trying to play our brand of cricket and I thought we did that really well over the four days and got our rewards at the end.”

New Zealand’s first Test series win in England in 22 years moved them back to the top of the ICC rankings ahead of India. This was England’s first home Test series defeat since 2014.