Newcomer Jamieson shines for NZ in India series

New Zealand unearthed a significant new talent in fast bowler Kyle Jamieson during the two-test sweep of top-ranked India. Now the dilemma is how to accommodate Jamieson in a well-established and successful lineup.

Jamieson showed allround abilities when he scored 44 and took 4-39 in his debut test in Wellington, which New Zealand won by 10 wickets. He returned 5-45 and made 49 in the second test, which New Zealand won Monday by seven wickets.

The 2.03-meter (6-feet-8) tall paceman played the first test as a replacement for Neil Wagner, who was absent because his wife was expecting their first child. He played the second when Wagner returned because New Zealand decided to use four seamers and no specialist spinner.

New Zealand takes a spinner into most tests which means Jamieson, to retain his place, would have to displace one of its firm trio of fast bowlers — Wagner, Tim Southee or Trent Boult. The only other option is that he would have to take over the allrounder role which Colin de Grandhomme has held in 23 tests since 2016.

That seems unlikely at this early stage of Jamieson's career. De Grandhomme averages 37 batting at No. 7 and has taken 46 test wickets with his useful medium pace.

Jamieson wasn't thought of as an allrounder before this series, even at provincial level where he averages 17 with three half centuries. He was an opening batsman at age-group representative level before he concentrated on fast bowling, making a strong start to his first-class career with 76 wickets in his first 23 matches.

"It's been a pretty surreal couple of weeks just to be part of this group and to win a couple of test matches as well," the 25-year-old Jamieson said. "It's just been a real privilege and as a collective we were so good across both tests.

"In New Zealand, pitch conditions give you a bit of help so it's been a case of trying to find a fuller length and I guess commit batsmen to making decisions more often and allowing that natural variation to take over."

New Zealand's reason for giving Jamieson his chance this season, first in the the one-day international series against India in which he also performed well with bat and ball, was that he offered a "point of difference" to the established fast bowlers. While his top pace is around 135 kph (84 mph), his height creates an unusual trajectory and allows him to produce difficult bounce.

New Zealand's challenge is now to find a way to make use of Jamieson's point of difference and to avoid the experience with other recent fast bowlers who have been under-used or classified as limited-overs players.

"He's a very exciting talent and contributed incredibly well in both games with bat and ball," New Zealand captain Kane Williamson said. "He brought variety with a bit of height and bounce on these surfaces and those runs he scored towards the back end of the innings in both games was incredibly valuable."


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