10 May 2015

NZ XI fightback to take control

12:20 pm on 10 May 2015

Young cricketers Ben Wheeler and Mitchell Santner starred on day two for the New Zealand XI as they dominated Somerset with impressive debut performances.

Ben Wheeler appeals during the four day game between Somerset and a New Zealand XI at Taunton.

Ben Wheeler appeals during the four day game between Somerset and a New Zealand XI at Taunton. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

First, Wheeler shone with an aggressive opening spell of fast bowling to set the tone at the Somerset Country Cricket Club in Taunton.

The 23-year-old from Central Districts was the most destructive of the New Zealand attack as he ripped through the top order and finished with figures of 5 for 18 from 11 overs in the fine conditions.

"I was pretty nervous at the start," Wheeler said afterwards.

"But to get that first over under my belt and to see the ball swinging I started to relax. I was happy with how it was coming out of my hand."

Wheeler, the younger brother of Highlanders rugby lock forward Joe Wheeler, claimed his third five wicket bag in his First Class cricket career and made a name for himself in the international arena.

"It was a pretty cool feeling to perform like that on debut. I have been waiting a long time for this game since I got the call up to the team and I guess I couldn't be happier with how it went. The team are in a strong position so we're happy."

The New Zealand XI bowled Somerset out for 204 in the 47th over and took a 33 run lead into the Second Innings.

They extended that advantage to 182 runs with seven wickets in hand with Mitchell Santner unbeaten at the crease on 70.

Santner, a 23-year-old from Northern Districts, looked comfortable again and hit his fifth First Class half century to put the New Zealand into a commanding position at the halfway stage.

The lean youngster, who made 27 in the first innings, was composed and in control throughout, hitting 11 fours and a six during his 85 ball innings.

Test opener Tom Latham also returned to the runs with a well-constructed 57 that steadied the second innings for the Kiwis.

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