Good start vital in Antigua for Black Caps 25 Jul 2012
Experienced New Zealand pace bowler Chris Martin believes the first hour of the first Test against the West Indies in Antigua (at 2am Thursday NZT) will define how the series plays out.
The West Indies were a more confident side now, and they had the benefit of series against Australia and England ahead of the New Zealand series, but the sides were evenly matched and he felt it could be a very competitive Test series.
Hence the reason for setting a standard from the outset.
"For us it is going to be a lot more about our attitude and playing together as a team to combat these guys in their home conditions," he said.
The conditions were basically the same as those of the sub-continent in which New Zealand was very familiar. That meant short sharp spells with prospective swing at the outset, and then a further call-up if the ball started showing signs of reverse swing.
The series is being played with a Duke ball, the same as used in England. The ball was hard early, with variation coming out of the pitch, but then progress moved into a holding pattern until it started to reverse.
"It [the ball] softens up relatively quickly and the spinners find it a difficult ball, if you haven't used it before, to get your hands around because there is quite a big seam on it," he said.
But they were just little things players had to adapt to when playing in a foreign country.
"The opportunity here for us, on a pitch that is definitely going to have a result in it, is massive. It is just a matter of us getting our games together and playing as a team and attacking pretty hard on the first day," he said.
The need for being on the mark, consistently and for long periods had been hit home to the players during the warm-up game on the pitch alongside.
Martin felt that while there had been an 'explosion' with his body when going through the rigours of playing his first game after a long break, he was feeling good ahead of the Test match.
"If you make a guy go out of his game plan by being disciplined and hard-working I think you've got a chance with the variable nature of the pitch.
"If a guy decides to camp and bat for as long as he can it's obviously a bit more difficult for the pace bowlers to remove them but as the game goes on the variable nature of the pitch is probably going to create a little bit of havoc so it's probably a good toss to win.
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