Blackcaps v Australia: NZ captain Tim Southee putting out fires on eve of 100th test celebration

On the eve of his 100th test, Blackcaps captain Tim Southee has gone on the front foot over criticism directed at him from former teammate Ross Taylor.

After claiming veteran fast-bowler Neil Wagner was forced into retirement, Taylor went on to criticise Southee's captaincy and the way he was dismissed in a heavy defeat to Australia in the opening test.

Southee says he's disappointed by the comments, but admits he does need to be better.

"He knows what it's like to be in those four walls," he conceded. "He was in there for 112 test matches, so I guess it's a little bit disappointing."

Teammates Ross Taylor and Tim Southee in happier times.
Teammates Ross Taylor and Tim Southee in happier times. Photo credit: Photosport

Southee has set the record straight about his relationship with Wagner, after the bowler appeared to raise his middle finger towards him during his final test at Hamilton.

"He's become a great mate of mine over the years and I'm sure he will be a great mate, not only a bowling partner, but great mate for many years to come."

What about his relationship with Taylor?

"Yeah, I haven't had a lot to do with Ross since he's retired," admitted Southee.

That didn't stop Taylor from outing Southee's mode of dismissal, when fighting for survival against Australia.

"When you're captain, I think it just sends a bad message," he told ESPN's Round The Wicket podcast. "When you play a shot like that, it's hard to look the team in the eye and tell them off."

Southee doesn't disagree.

"I guess that's a disappointing way to finish that test match," he said. "It's never nice, never a good look to get out that way."

Now Southee's attention turns to trying to level the series. He's confirmed paceman Ben Sears will make his test debut, but one decision lingers. 

"That fourth seamer or a spinner," he said. "Hopefully, we get it right this week."

A famous win in his 100th test would certainly keep the critics at bay.

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