England lost three wickets to Mitchell Santner on the fourth day of the first Test match at Mount Maunganui as New Zealand extended their advantage over the Poms. A spinner taking the first three wickets in a Test innings is nothing new. But in New Zealand, it is a remarkable feat. Let's see why.
In the first innings as New Zealand bowled out England for 335, all 10 wickets to fall were taken by the quicker bowlers. Incidentally, it was the eleventh successive time in Tests in New Zealand that a New Zealand spinner had failed to take a single wicket.
In this same time frame, New Zealand's pacers have totalled a whopping 101 wickets. Just gauge the extent of that - 101 wickets to pace and zero to spin.
Trent Boult - 31 wickets
Tim Southee - 31 wickets
Neil Wagner - 27 wickets
Colin de Grandhomme - 10 wickets
Matt Henry - 2 wickets
These were the pacers to take wickets for New Zealand in a period dating back to March 2018.
In this same time frame, the New Zealand spinners bowled 93.5 overs for 268 runs without taking a single wicket. Following is the split of overs by New Zealand spinners in this time frame:
Ajaz Patel - 43 overs
Todd Astle - 20 overs
Ish Sodhi - 16 overs
Mitchell Santner - 11.5 overs
Kane Williamson - 2 overs
Jeet Raval - 1 over
Until Santner picked up the wicket of Dominic Sibley in the 22nd over of the innings and Santner's sixth, New Zealand's last wicket by a spinner was when Todd Astle dismissed James Anderson in a win at Auckland last year.
It took 608 days from then to Santner's wicket on Sunday for New Zealand spinners to break their drought at home. While pitches in New Zealand have been known to be conducive to pace, the fact that a home spinner hadn't taken a single wicket in nearly one and a half years is a shocking revelation.
Mitchell Santner, who scored a hundred in New Zealand's batting innings, then went on to claim two more wickets in the day as all three England wickets to fall in the second innings went to a spinner. The phrase "when it rains, it pours" was brought to life by Santner as he ran through the top-order, dismissing Sibley, Burns and nightwatchman, Jack Leach, to finish with 3/6 in the day.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / David Gray