For some reason New Zealand demoted Tim Southee from number nine to number ten in their second innings. Southee was clearly irked by this and promptly hit New Zealand’s fastest-ever Test fifty in a magnificent display powered by THE RAGE.
England’s fielders thought they were being clever when Southee came to the crease, hinting that there were all sorts of problems with his batting and pointing out how little confidence his team mates had in him. Unfortunately, this only further bolstered THE RAGE.
England should have known better than to pay attention to New Zealand’s batting order. This is a Test side that sports openers who average 24 and 22 and a number eight who’s been averaging more than 40 over the last five years. In hitting 77 not out off 40 balls with nine sixes, Southee’s probably just booked himself the number ten slot for life. If it ain’t broke, say the Kiwi selectors.
Southee’s innings is only New Zealand’s fastest for the first 50, incidentally. When Nathan Astle went mental that time, he went from 100 to 150 in 22 balls and because he then had his eye in, from 150 to 200 in a further 17 balls.