Blackcaps v England: NZ captain Tim Southee backs struggling top order for Basin Reserve bounceback

Despite their struggles with the bat in the opening test against England, Blackcaps captain Tim Southee expects his top three batters to bounce back in the series finale at Wellington.

Across both innings at Mt Maunganui, the NZ top three of Tom Latham, Devon Conway and Kane Williamson failed to replicate the starts of their English counterparts.

Latham (1 and 15) and Williamson (6 and 0) were both out cheaply, as the home side chased the game, after England scored at more than five an over in both of their innings.

Conway made 77 in the first innings, but could only make two in the second dig, when he was bowled by Stuart Broad.

In five of their six dismissals, the Blackcaps batters were undone batting against the pink ball under lights, up against the evergreen England pair of James Anderson and Stuart Broad - who surpassed Australian greats Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne as test cricket's most prolific duo.

Reduced to 63/5 at the end of day three, the Blackcaps top-order woes were one of the key reasons for their eventual capitulation, losing by 267 runs inside the opening session on day four.

But after misery at the Mount, test skipper Southee backs the trio to rebound at the Basin Reserve, with less than a week to turn their fortunes around. 

Recent history is on their side as well, with all three players notching centuries during the 0-0 series draw against Pakistan at the start of the year.

"It's not long ago Kane got a double-hundred and Devon got a hundred," said Southee. "I think they had the worst of the conditions both times, having to go out under lights.

"If you look at our top three, they're three of the best players we've ever had. As a group, we know and we trust they'll come right."

Southee is right to be optimistic.

In 13 tests at the Basin Reserve, Williamson averages 66.88 - up on his career mark of 53.13 - while Latham's record is also improved, averaging just under 50 at Wellington.

Conway is yet to play a test on his home ground, but recorded his highest first-class score of 327 not out in the capital at domestic level.

Those records are all the evidence needed for Southee to have confidence in his top three in the second test, starting Friday. 

Devon Conway against England at Bay Oval.
Devon Conway against England at Bay Oval. Photo credit: Photosport

With no pink ball to worry about, the Blackcaps captain's faith could be repaid in full. 

"We go back to Wellington, a more traditional test match," continued Southee. "Our top order had the worst of the conditions, they know that they would have found a way to get through it.

"If they had, things could have been slightly different, but that's cricket.

"The effort's always there and the trust in what we're trying to do as a team."

Join us on Friday for live updates of the second Blackcaps v England test