Reflecting On The Black Caps

Well beaten in the tests

By Melbourne correspondent  John Smith

Mike Hesson: philosophical about the Black Caps
Mike Hesson: philosophical about the Black Caps

The recent cricket series was disappointing from a New Zealand point of view, and I was glad to see that Coach Mike Hesson didn’t try to offer any excuses.

Yes it would have been nice if we hadn’t lost both tosses, and if the Voges decision in the first test hadn’t gone against us, but at the end of the day, for the second summer in a row, after playing very well against everyone else we came up short against Australia.

For me the critical difference showed in our two second innings efforts, on pitches which had flattened out enough for the Aussies to make over 500. We were not able to match that: our top order didn’t bat as well as their top order, and their bowlers were more dangerous than our bowlers.

So where does that leave us?

Lessons about our batsmen

Martin Guptill: classy ODI opener but not in tests
Martin Guptill: classy ODI opener but not in tests

Martin Guptill is NOT a test opener and does not have the discipline and technique to cope with the new ball. He is a great limited overs player, however in a test team, he would be best at number 5 away from the opening bowlers, coming in hopefully after Williamson and Taylor have worn down their attack.

Tom Latham is a test opener and should be for a long time: but he does need to be turning some of those starts into hundreds.

Kane Williamson faced a real test: the toughest for a long time, against an attack who had a plan to get him out and executed it very well. The 97 showed that he had worked out a response and the experience will stand him in good stead.

We missed Ross Taylor. Nicholls showed some quality in the second innings at the Basin, but the other three innings suggest that he is not quite there yet.

Corey Anderson’s batting was a standout – he has the technique and temperament to be a very good test number 6.

Worries about the bowling

Tim Southee had some gerat performances in ODIs last year but was disappointing in the recent tests
Tim Southee had some great performances in ODIs last year but was disappointing in the recent tests

Our bowling is a worry – Trent Boult was getting closer to his best but Tim Southee wasn’t. He bowled too many wide balls of a good length which the Australian top order drove and cut for boundaries.

Matt Henry doesn’t seem to be able to reproduce his ODI form in test cricket. Neil Wagner did well – I claim the credit for that as he obviously took exception to me criticising his selection.

I still think we should have played Mark Craig in the second test, but in hindsight it was obviously Henry who shouldn’t have been there!

I am not sure whether it is related to Bond not being there – I know that a lot of people think that – and we can only hope that new bowling coach Shane Jurgensen can turn things around when he starts.