Trent Boult. Now there’s a name that not many would have been familiar with before the start of the second test.
Not anymore, though.
Thrown in the deep end - after Daniel Vettori withdrew with a hamstring injury - Boult embraced the opportunity to make his test debut for New Zealand on a Bellerive Oval wicket so green it resembled a batsmen’s death walk to the gallows of insignificance.
Fair it was to assume that the debutant would be laden with nerves. Up against the might of Ponting, Clarke and Hussey, who could blame him if he was? After all, this was Australia he was facing, not a minnow such as Zimbabwe.
To make matters worse, he and his fellow bowling fiends had to contend with a wicket that was a flinger’s paradise. Not a bad thing, you may say. But sometimes when conditions prevail so much to one’s benefit, it becomes harder to control the ball when it is seaming prodigiously and swinging wildly. There comes an intoxicating surge of temptation over the bowler to try too much, instead of putting the ball on a good length and letting the conditions work their magic.
If he was suffering though, he certainly didn’t display any obvious signs of anxiety. A mature head on young shoulders then, as he handled the situation with the utmost aplomb.
Rarely was there a poor delivery to be seen from the left arm slinger. The consistency of good line and length just outside off stump had plastered itself within the thought processes of Boult. Patience became him, as he resisted the urge to go for the glory ball each time he ran in. And that patience brought him his just rewards as he snared the wicket of none other than Mr Cricket himself, Mike Hussey.
Bowlers of class take wickets no matter the calibre of their foe. So, just as Boult showed himself capable of eliminating a world beating talent in the form of Hussey, he also set about helping his teammates by removing the Australian lower order. That he did too, as he sent James Pattinson and Mitchell Starc back to the pavilion in quick succession.
After thirteen over’s for a return of 3 for 29, that he is a fine talent in the making seems to be beyond question. With Tim Southee and Doug Bracewell, he could form a potent bowling armoury that could serve New Zealand well for many a year to come.
The only issue now is just how much does Boult want it.