Sunday, September 6, 2009

Bond happy with return thus far

Shane Bond is feeling relaxed and confident two games into his international comeback.

The 34-year-old starred with the ball, taking three for 18 off his four overs, in New Zealand's series-clinching 22-run Twenty20 win against Sri Lanka on Friday.

Having made 170 for four off their 20 overs - thanks largely to an 84-run opening stand between Brendon McCullum (49) and Jesse Ryder (52) - the Black Caps restricted the hosts to 148 for eight to complete a two-game clean sweep.

"I'm really pleased. I'm pleased the way I'm bowling at the end of an innings," Bond said.

"I haven't really done a lot of work on it, just these games here and one game in India, and it seems to be going pretty well so far.

"I suppose I'm no spring chicken any more but I've got a lot of experience to call on. I feel really relaxed and I feel really confident the way things are going for me and I've just got to keep working hard and doing the things I've been doing. It's good."

Bond has been off the international scene since 2007 when he signed up with the rebel Indian Cricket League. But he has been welcomed back with open arms by New Zealand since cutting ties with the unsanctioned Twenty20 tournament.

His return to international cricket in the opening Twenty20 match against Sri Lanka perhaps did not go quite according to plan as Tillakaratne Dilshan hit him for four consecutive boundaries in his opening over.

On Friday, however, Bond got his revenge, dismissing the opener for a single when he holed out for a single off the New Zealander's fifth ball of the run chase - effectively ending any realistic hopes Sri Lanka had of victory.

"It was great (to get him early). He gave me some stick in the last game but I had a real clear game-plan of how I wanted to attack him this time and it worked perfectly," Bond told Radio Sport.

"It's just one of those things. It was a good feeling to put a plan in place and get his wicket. I'll obviously need to do some similar things in the one-day series because he is still in great form."

The Black Caps' next assignment is a short one-day tri-series with Sri Lanka and India.

They play Sri Lanka on Tuesday and India three days later.

"It's going to be tough. You're pretty tired after 20 overs in this heat so a day-nighter and 50 overs you might be able out in the sun in the afternoon so it's going to be tough work," admitted Bond.

"The boys have just got to rest up and just get ready and play the sort of cricket they've been playing in these Twenty20s and we'll have a pretty good chance."

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