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Wagner spurs galvanised NZ bowling effort

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 20/11/2016 Daniel Gilhooly

<span style="font-size:13px;">A Black Caps bowling attack inspired by Neil Wagner now has the balance it needs to win Test cricket matches says skipper Kane Williamson.</span> © Martin Hunter/Getty Images A Black Caps bowling attack inspired by Neil Wagner now has the balance it needs to win Test cricket matches says skipper Kane Williamson. Kane Williamson has labelled Neil Wagner the "true leader" of a New Zealand seam bowling lineup he reckons operated in perfect harmony in Christchurch.

Captain Williamson says his four-pronged attack out-pointed their highly-rated Pakistan opposites in the first Test, resulting in an eight-wicket win.

A relentless approach to the second innings when batting conditions flattened out on Saturday was unquestionably the game's decisive period, Williamson said.

The tourists had hunkered down after crumbling cheaply on the first day's play and threatened to swing momentum before Wagner employed his trademark aggression and bounce to claim two wickets.

It sparked another Pakistan capitulation, one which Williamson says was a reward for winning a battle of wills earlier on.

"The seamers got into spells, held their areas for long periods at a time and then when it was passed over to the next bloke to take up the baton he was world-class," Williamson said.

"It certainly was a huge effort in being patient and then getting the rewards later on in the day."

Williamson says Wagner's stocks have risen so much in the last 12 months that his teammates routinely look to him for inspiration, including more experienced new ball pair Trent Boult and Tim Southee.

Saturday's double-breakthrough in unhelpful conditions was typical Wagner after he barely got to bowl in the first innings as others revelled in the seamer-friendly conditions.

"He is a true leader amongst our bowlers for those reasons," Williamson said.

"He gives 100 per cent and bowls long spells and we're very fortunate to have someone like that in our attack."

Williamson says Wagner's "alternative approach" complements Boult and Southee's swing, along with the slower, seaming deliveries introduced by Colin de Grandhomme.

The burly allrounder showed why he was picked, taking 6-41 on debut, a deed that earned him man of the match - the fourth Kiwi to claim that honour on debut after Stephen Fleming, Mathew Sinclair and Mark Craig.

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