McMillan very proud of youngster Latham


Centurion Tom Latham stood at the fore of batting coach Craig McMillan's appreciation, after New Zealand climbed to a formidable score of 243 for three on day one of the first Test match against Pakistan at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium in the United Arab Emirates on Monday.

Latham recorded an outstanding 137 not out, resolutely defying an opposition bowling attack brimming with confidence on the back of a recent series win over the Australians. The talented left-hander struck 11 fours and a six – and shared key half-century partnerships with captain Brendon McCullum, former skipper Ross Taylor and the in-form Kane Williamson.

"It's obviously exciting when you've got a young player like that batting at the top of the order, which it's fair to say has been a problem for New Zealand for a number of years. As a batsman, once you score that first Test hundred, you almost feel like you belong. He played really well in the West Indies, had a couple of fifties, hadn't quite got that hundred. So that was a real key for him," said McMillan.

The 22-year-old Latham was particularly impressive in successfully combating the reverse swing generated by seamers Ehsan Adil and Rahat Ali – and the generous amounts of turn produced by spinners Abdur Rehman and Yasir Shah.

"It was an excellent day. To get to the end and only be three down and to have one of your opening batsman still there on 130-odd was terrific. We had partnerships all the way through, we would have liked a couple of bigger partnerships but, there were a few things that we got wrong in the first Test that we've talked about, in terms of losing wickets in clumps, nullifying reverse swing and a few other things, and I think we did that by and large. So a lot of positives from the day," concluded McMillan.