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Southee enjoying battle for starting spot

7 december 2017 11:34

Tim Southee says the strength in depth of New Zealand's bowling attack ensures he continues to push himself to be at the top of his game.

The swing bowler missed the opening match of the Test series with West Indies in Wellington to attend the birth of his child, but is back in contention this week.

New Zealand cruised to an innings and 67-run victory at Basin Reserve, with Neil Wagner taking 7-39 in the first innings and Matt Henry impressing with three wickets second time round as the Black Caps wrapped up the win.

Southee's return only bolsters the options available to captain Kane Williamson, and the 28-year-old is motivated by the healthy rivalry within the Test squad.

"It's good to have that competition, it keeps guys striving to get better," he said ahead of the second and final Test, which starts on Saturday.

"No one ever takes their spot for granted. It comes with the territory of playing at this level. It's an honour to play for your country – no one goes into it thinking they have the right to be there.

"You see it around training – the competitive edge with the guys. It brings out the best in all the players, knowing there's guys knocking the door down, performing well in domestic cricket and bowling well in the nets as well.  

"The amount of depth we've got is a pleasing sign, all reasonably young as well."

Southee's record at Seddon Park reads 34 Test wickets at 19.55, and he is confident the New Zealand attack will be able to adapt to whatever conditions they encounter.

"Usually it's a good wicket here, a good cricket wicket," he added. "It usually does swing a little, but again, there's been matches where it hasn't.

"So it's more about adapting to the wicket, and I think we've done that reasonably well, not only here, but at most of the grounds around New Zealand over the last few years.

"Looking at that surface on day one [in Wellington] and you think that Neil Wagner took seven-for with, I think, six of them being bouncers, you're probably wondering how it all happened.

"And I think that's the strength of this group - we are able to adapt to different conditions, and I think that was a move that was made reasonably quickly and early on in the day. It takes courage on a green one to all of a sudden run in and start banging it in halfway down.

"But that's the beauty of this side – we're willing to try things, and not all of the time it comes off, but when it does it's very satisfying."

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