Coach Mike Hesson says New Zealands performance in the first cricket Test against the West Indies was close to perfect even though the team had to settle for a draw.
New Zealand hopes to go one better and get its first win in 11 matches under Hesson and captain Brendon McCullum in the second Test that begins in Wellington on Wednesday.
The Basin Reserve pitch is expected to be livelier than the strip at the University Oval,which produced a high-scoring draw in the first Test,with the help of rain in the final session. Thats likely to suit New Zealands bowlers more than the West Indies depleted attack and Hesson hopes his team will get over its recent inability to close out matches.
New Zealand should have won the first Test at Dunedin after forcing the West Indies to follow on 396 runs behind,but the hosts bowled poorly in the second innings,allowing the West Indies to make 507. Still,New Zealand should have been able to score 112 to get the win,but the team slumped to 44-4 before rain brought an end to the match,33 runs from victory.
Hesson said New Zealand felt frustrated to be stranded so close to a Test win,but he acknowledged that his team wouldnt have had to bat again if it had bowled better. The outcome was frustrating,but,to be fair,it was pretty close to the perfect test really, Hesson said. It will go down as a draw but we know that we played very well.
I think the teams starting to turn the corner in terms of our method and how we play. Sure,wed love the wins in the column but youve got to learn to draw first and get yourself in positions to win.
New Zealand has often gotten itself into positions to win only to fail time and again to close out matches. The squad is now counting on the Basin Reserve to provide conditions that will suit its pace attack,but that has been the expectation in each of its last three tests at the ground against Pakistan,South Africa and England and all of those have been drawn.
Key batsman Kane Williamson has been confirmed in New Zealands starting lineup,batting at No. 3 after missing the first test because of a broken thumb.
Leg spinner Ish Sodhi will play again,but McCullum has yet to decide whether Doug Bracewell or Neil Wagner will take the third seamers role .
McCullum said the Basin Reserve pitch looks set to assist the seamers.
It certainly does have a rather green tinge to it, he said. We saw in the first test our bowlers are certainly capable of extracting the most value out of those wickets. If the coin falls the right way,then well get first use of it and Im confident our bowlers will bowl that natural fuller length and hopefully well present a tough challenge to the West Indies batsmen.
West indies in limbo
The West Indies have appealed to the ICC not to rule on the legality of spinners Shane Shillingford and Marlon Samuels. A decision on the bowlers actions is due on the third day of the Test,but West Indies coach Ottis Gibson said that would not be fair. We have not heard anything from the ICC, Gibson said Tuesday. We have left it up to them. They are the ones that have to digest the reports and give us the results. If nothing is said before the Test starts on Wednesday,I dont believe we will know until after the game. I dont think it would be fair for them or us to issue the results in the middle of the game.