Win was nice but just a step forward for Kiwis: Hesson

‘Pacers Southee, Boult and Wagner complimented each other’

By (Reuters)

Published: Sun 15 Dec 2013, 2:04 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 8:01 AM

New Zealand coach Mike Hesson conceded that at times in the past 12 months he had felt the cricketing gods were conspiring against his side winning a Test match after putting themselves in a position to do so.

New Zealand had not won a Test since they beat Sri Lanka in Colombo in November 2012, a match that ended with Brendon McCullum replacing Ross Taylor as captain.

Under McCullum, the team had failed to win a Test, having drawn six and lost four games before they clinched their first win with an innings and 73 run victory over West Indies in the second Test in Wellington on Friday.

On at least four of those previous occasions, however, New Zealand had been in a position where they could have broken that duck and won the game.

None more so than in the third Test against England in March when Matt Prior saved the tourists at Eden Park with a century, and against West Indies last week in Dunedin when rain halted the game when New Zealand needed 33 runs to win. “Yeah. I think there was,” Hesson said when asked if he had at times felt the luck of the game was never going to go New Zealand’s way. “When the ball bounced on Prior’s stumps and ricocheted quite a distance there were a few of us looking at each other and going ‘what have we done here?,” he added of a delivery at Eden Park that Prior survived.

“Then Dunedin was a few things down there that occurred where you wondered ‘when was it going to turn?’.

“I guess for it to change so quickly yesterday was satisfying for the guys.

“We have put in a lot of work in different Tests ... and it just hasn’t worked for us so now we’re all pretty delighted that the win has come.”

Hesson, like McCullum, had felt that it was a matter of time before they claimed the win, believing the team was slowly improving from match to match and getting more consistent in their bowling and batting. “If the performance came in isolation I guess it wouldn’t bring as much satisfaction. Since England last (March) we have been consistent in the way we have gone about things. “It’s not a win in isolation. It’s something we have built up over a period of time and we know that we haven’t nailed it yet, but this is just another step forward for this team.”

Hesson believed his trio of pace bowlers, Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Neil Wagner complimented each other’s strengths and weaknesses and the introduction of leg-spinner Ish Sodhi gave them greater balance as well as attacking options.

Top-order batsman Kane Williamson was also a more than adequate off-spinning option, which allowed New Zealand the luxury of nurturing Corey Anderson as a batting all-rounder he said. “Corey in the last 12 months has certainly grown as a cricketer,” Hesson said. “He complements the bowling group very well and is growing into a very good all round cricketer.”

Hesson was reluctant to develop Anderson, who can bowl at over 140 kph, as a third seamer which could allow greater flexibility in the composition of the side because of his size.

The 23-year-old Anderson would not look out of place in the All Blacks loose forwards and Hesson said he had injuries earlier in his career that was a factor against turning him into an out and out third seamer.

“Corey is a big guy and he has had injury concerns so it’s not something we want to push,” Hesson said.

“In certain conditions when you play two spinners he could do that third seamer role but he is a batsman who bowls for us. We certainly don’t want to turn him into a 20 (over) a day man.”

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