Tom Latham: Squad depth key factor in New Zealand's win over West Indies

Stand-in captain Tom Latham says squad depth and New Zealand's ability to adapt were the key factors in its clinical win over West Indies.

Tom Latham shakes hands with West Indies captain Jason Holder (right) at the conclusion of the second Test in Wellington on Monday. - AP

New Zealand captain Tom Latham said squad depth and its ability to adapt were the key factors in Monday’s clinical innings and 12-run victory over West Indies in the second Test at the Basin Reserve which sealed a 2-0 series sweep.

The host got its second successive innings victory, and second inside four days, without its best batsman and regular captain Kane Williamson, who withdrew on the day before the game to be with his pregnant wife.

Middle-order batsman Henry Nicholls covered Williamson’s absence and scored a career-best 174 in its first innings of 460, before the bowlers dismissed the visitor for 131 and 317.

“Whoever comes into the side we expect them to do their role to the best of their ability,” Latham told reporters. “It was about everyone standing up and it was great we were able to do it without Kane. It's great for our squad we do have depth.”

New Zealand did ride its luck in the first innings.

Nicholls, who was named Man of the Match, was dropped three times and West Indies grassed several other opportunities.

'Didn't take our opportunities'

Touring captain Jason Holder said those missed chances were critical.

“I thought our bowlers were outstanding,” Holder said.

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“Just tough we didn’t take our opportunities when they came. It just shows that when you give quality players, two, three, or four hands in one Test match they will make you pay.”

Holder was disappointed at his side’s lack of consistency in the match but was happy to see it show some resolve in its second innings.

Opener John Campbell top-scored with 68, wicketkeeper Joshua Da Silva scored 57 on debut, while the captain belted 61 and ensured the match went into a fourth day.

“I was pleased to see the fight in the second innings,” Holder said.

“(There were) positives, (we were) good in patches, but not good enough.”

NZ focusing on Pakistan

Tom Latham said on Monday New Zealand's sole focus was the upcoming Test series against Pakistan despite its 2-0 sweep of West Indies putting it in contention for a place in next year's world Test championship final.

New Zealand moved into third place in the table for the world Test championship when they completed an innings and 12 run victory over West Indies in the second test at the Basin Reserve.

The top-two sides face each other in the final at Lord's next year. The two ahead of New Zealand, Australia and India, will start a four-match series in Adelaide on Thursday.

“When you look too far ahead you can sometimes get caught out,” Latham told reporters.

“Our focus will shift to Pakistan and whatever happens post that we'll assess. The goal at the start of the test championship was to get to that final, and if we play well we give ourselves a chance and it may be a possibility.”

New Zealand heads to Auckland on Tuesday to begin preparations for three Twenty20 matches against Pakistan before a two-Test series begins in Mt. Maunganui on December 26.

In order to remain in contention for the Test championship final it must also sweep Pakistan and hope other results go its way, and Latham said its good form and knowledge of home conditions would give it every chance.

“We have been playing some good cricket of late,” Latham said. “In our conditions we certainly know how to play.”

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