Australia v New Zealand, 1st Test, Brisbane, 1st day December 1, 2011

McCullum rues poor shot selection

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New Zealand's batsmen are rightly cursing their shot selection after giving up the first five wickets of the innings with a flurry of poor choices. However, batsman Brendon McCullum believes the visitors are on course to reach a total that will stretch Australia's youthful top order.

McCullum creamed three boundaries from the debutant James Pattinson in the first over of the series, but later cut unwisely to point soon after drinks to expose the middle order to swing and spin. He was frank about the batsmen's failings, but retained hope of a fruitful Test match given the Gabba's potential for rushes of wickets.

"There are some very disappointed batsmen, myself included, all of us are pretty upset to pass up an opportunity to score some big runs on a challenging pitch against a very good team," McCullum said. "When you pass up those opportunities it always disappoints you. But can't stress enough it wasn't so much the deliveries themselves but more-so the build-up of pressure.

"When you see a ball that's not one of the better ones you try to dominate and that's where we came unstuck a little bit. Of more importance is we lost wickets before drinks, before lunch then straight after lunch. We pride ourselves on playing hard cricket during those times and today we let ourselves down before and after breaks.

"That first hour at the Gabba is always going to be the most challenging, and to get through that, to get to drinks and start after drinks and get out in the fashion I did, just before the spinner came on and I thought that would've been an opportunity to put pressure on with one wicket down. The timing of when I got out after putting in that hard work was hugely disappointing."

Grateful to Dean Brownlie and Daniel Vettori for a sturdy sixth wicket stand, McCullum pointed to David Warner, Phillip Hughes and Usman Khawaja, Australia's developmental top three, as an opportunity for early wickets if a total of 280 or more can be raised on day two.

"We still think we're not far away from putting up a competitive total, and if we can eke out a good two hours tomorrow morning then we put ourselves in a position where we're relatively comfortable with where we're at and have something to bowl at," McCullum said. "Hopefully we can expose some inexperience in the Australian top order as well, and try to utilise the scoreboard pressure we might create by batting first.

"Three hundred is competitive, 280's competitive, it's not like every other cricket ground, it is one of those things where if we do hit the right areas, any team can easily have a session where you run through six or seven wickets if you get it right, so we've just got to keep making sure we put ourselves in the strongest position we can."

Though he did not claim McCullum's wicket with a particularly searching delivery, Mitchell Starc had made the opener uncomfortable with earlier offerings, singeing his helmet with one bouncer and cramping his hands with swing and seam into the body.

"I thought I was a bit stiff not to get four leg-byes actually," McCullum said of the bouncer. "I thought he bowled pretty well. In terms of the length he bowled, he was probably the most challenging out of the lot of them. He's left-arm as well, being able to use his angle across you but also [challenging] when he came around the wicket coming from a wider angle as well. He bowled really smart today and got the rewards for it."

New Zealand have only played three other Test matches in 2011, but McCullum denied that had much to do with the batsmen's questionable shot choices. Instead he considered the occasion, against Australia in the first Test of their summer, had affected the visitors.

"We always want to play more Test cricket, but our dismissals today weren't because of our lack of Test cricket," he said. "It was just that we didn't execute the options we took, and pressure sometimes does that, and also the spectacle of playing Australia can sometimes bring that out in you as well. We're slightly behind the eight-ball but we're going okay."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY FatBoysCanBat on | December 2, 2011, 7:21 GMT

    tanstell87: McCullum is one of the only good batters that NZ has so to replace him is ludicrous because nobody can do what he does. His bothersome back prevents him from keeping wickets in test matches and if it flairs up during a game [which it would] you lose what he offers as a batsman. You mentioned Michael Papps...he hasn't even made decent runs against mediocre domestic attacks in the last 18 months, why don't they bring back Aaron Redmond while they're at it.

  • POSTED BY tanstell87 on | December 2, 2011, 4:00 GMT

    McCullum should retire from test & ODI cricket & play only T20s....first he isnt doing his side any favour by not keeping wickets & then playing stupid shots....he is doing this for a long time...NZ has to think of someone else for that opening slot....maybe Michael Papps ???

  • POSTED BY raptoron on | December 1, 2011, 22:17 GMT

    i think the NZ approach was the right one, if they had managed to get on top of the young attack they would have set themselves up for the whole series! Unfortunately for them the skill level didnt match the ambition, however if they bowl well the game is still live. You dont win games without some risk, the approach to try and win the series is still valid?

  • POSTED BY Alexk400 on | December 1, 2011, 22:12 GMT

    NZ need to anchor and play long patient inning. At present everyone try to hit out of the park...Nz must slow it down

  • POSTED BY Patchmaster on | December 1, 2011, 21:24 GMT

    Brendon McCullum has far too much 'swagger' for a guy who doesn't get big scores as an opener against decent attacks. I think he's a great guy, but needs to play less T20 and develop his Test Match mentality much much more. Alistair Cook showed just what a great opener can do to much better bowling attacks than this. I still believe McCullum has the potential to be an opener, but he needs to be stronger mentally. It will be interesting to see how David Warner does, the mirror of McCullum, who he might just make to look ordinary in this test. Fingers crossed that one of the best all rounders in the World (Dan the man Vettori) can bail them out again !

  • POSTED BY bumsonseats on | December 1, 2011, 19:03 GMT

    batters should have done what cook did during the last ashes and as an old england player used to say. book in for bed and breakfast dpk

  • POSTED BY gogoldengreens on | December 1, 2011, 19:02 GMT

    Don't think there are demons in the pitch most wickets were due to poor shot selection... The way Jessie Ryder smashed the ball to point straight after lunch makes you wonder if the 12th man didn't signal a dessert encore... either that or another pie was warm!!

  • POSTED BY trueindian on | December 1, 2011, 18:30 GMT

    @ Wefinishthis : I think your team misses the one yardstick....success! What if this team goes onto win with great contributions from Starc, Khawaja, and a memorable spell by Lyon? And ya, Warner has just debuted and he already grased one simple chance! By the way, I feel that the time is not right for Cowan. Hughes has to be given another opportunity( I know it is of no use). So when Marsh returns and if Warner fails, Cowan will get his chance but not in the near future. Leave that fast bowlers dilemma for now as it is a very messy one to gauge.

  • POSTED BY stuartk319 on | December 1, 2011, 18:05 GMT

    @Wefinishthis; although Siddle was excellent yesterday, I agree with you. I'm from Sydney and leaving Cutting out was ludicrous IMHO. Full credit to Brownlie and Vettori, but their job was made somewhat easier by some inconsistent bowling. @RoJayao; I don't think NZ are saying they will win, just that if they start OK this morning they could be competitive, which I agree with.

  • POSTED BY mrmonty on | December 1, 2011, 16:36 GMT

    Poor shot selection. Why, that's a specialty of most NZ batters. McCullum, Taylor, Ryder. They are like WI; talent implied, but never realized. Plus, they are pretty confident in retaining their positions due to lack of incoming talent pushing them.

  • POSTED BY FatBoysCanBat on | December 2, 2011, 7:21 GMT

    tanstell87: McCullum is one of the only good batters that NZ has so to replace him is ludicrous because nobody can do what he does. His bothersome back prevents him from keeping wickets in test matches and if it flairs up during a game [which it would] you lose what he offers as a batsman. You mentioned Michael Papps...he hasn't even made decent runs against mediocre domestic attacks in the last 18 months, why don't they bring back Aaron Redmond while they're at it.

  • POSTED BY tanstell87 on | December 2, 2011, 4:00 GMT

    McCullum should retire from test & ODI cricket & play only T20s....first he isnt doing his side any favour by not keeping wickets & then playing stupid shots....he is doing this for a long time...NZ has to think of someone else for that opening slot....maybe Michael Papps ???

  • POSTED BY raptoron on | December 1, 2011, 22:17 GMT

    i think the NZ approach was the right one, if they had managed to get on top of the young attack they would have set themselves up for the whole series! Unfortunately for them the skill level didnt match the ambition, however if they bowl well the game is still live. You dont win games without some risk, the approach to try and win the series is still valid?

  • POSTED BY Alexk400 on | December 1, 2011, 22:12 GMT

    NZ need to anchor and play long patient inning. At present everyone try to hit out of the park...Nz must slow it down

  • POSTED BY Patchmaster on | December 1, 2011, 21:24 GMT

    Brendon McCullum has far too much 'swagger' for a guy who doesn't get big scores as an opener against decent attacks. I think he's a great guy, but needs to play less T20 and develop his Test Match mentality much much more. Alistair Cook showed just what a great opener can do to much better bowling attacks than this. I still believe McCullum has the potential to be an opener, but he needs to be stronger mentally. It will be interesting to see how David Warner does, the mirror of McCullum, who he might just make to look ordinary in this test. Fingers crossed that one of the best all rounders in the World (Dan the man Vettori) can bail them out again !

  • POSTED BY bumsonseats on | December 1, 2011, 19:03 GMT

    batters should have done what cook did during the last ashes and as an old england player used to say. book in for bed and breakfast dpk

  • POSTED BY gogoldengreens on | December 1, 2011, 19:02 GMT

    Don't think there are demons in the pitch most wickets were due to poor shot selection... The way Jessie Ryder smashed the ball to point straight after lunch makes you wonder if the 12th man didn't signal a dessert encore... either that or another pie was warm!!

  • POSTED BY trueindian on | December 1, 2011, 18:30 GMT

    @ Wefinishthis : I think your team misses the one yardstick....success! What if this team goes onto win with great contributions from Starc, Khawaja, and a memorable spell by Lyon? And ya, Warner has just debuted and he already grased one simple chance! By the way, I feel that the time is not right for Cowan. Hughes has to be given another opportunity( I know it is of no use). So when Marsh returns and if Warner fails, Cowan will get his chance but not in the near future. Leave that fast bowlers dilemma for now as it is a very messy one to gauge.

  • POSTED BY stuartk319 on | December 1, 2011, 18:05 GMT

    @Wefinishthis; although Siddle was excellent yesterday, I agree with you. I'm from Sydney and leaving Cutting out was ludicrous IMHO. Full credit to Brownlie and Vettori, but their job was made somewhat easier by some inconsistent bowling. @RoJayao; I don't think NZ are saying they will win, just that if they start OK this morning they could be competitive, which I agree with.

  • POSTED BY mrmonty on | December 1, 2011, 16:36 GMT

    Poor shot selection. Why, that's a specialty of most NZ batters. McCullum, Taylor, Ryder. They are like WI; talent implied, but never realized. Plus, they are pretty confident in retaining their positions due to lack of incoming talent pushing them.

  • POSTED BY Sinhaya on | December 1, 2011, 15:55 GMT

    New Zealand has to target 300 plus at least. Seems this wicket has something for the bowlers.

  • POSTED BY on | December 1, 2011, 15:50 GMT

    Michael Clarke has dropped the Trans Tasman Trophy Brownlie will now go on an make a century

  • POSTED BY kitten on | December 1, 2011, 13:50 GMT

    Considering the Aussies have new guys operating their bowling attack, they did marvellously well, and all because NZ were over confident, and started smashing their way about. They felt they could destroy this Australian attack, and started going about it like an ODI. Big mistake. Everyone knows, Australia, even with a limited attack, in Australia, will fight tooth and nail. And NZ went out of their way to help them, by throwing their wickets away. Thank God for Vettori and Brownlie, for playing the way they did. I think McCullum is putting on a brave face, and trying to keep the spirits of the NZ team up. I sincerely hope Vettori and Brownlie keep up the good work tomorrow, or else NZ can kiss this test good bye. Even if Australia's top order fails, there is still Punter, Pup, and the evergreen Hussey, who I don't think will bat the way of the visitors. Let's wait and see.

  • POSTED BY Wefinishthis on | December 1, 2011, 13:12 GMT

    If only the selectors actually understood what a bowling averages meant. Then they'd understand why Siddle, Starc, Lyon and to a lesser degree Pattinson do not deserve to be there and thus why we lost the ashes and are no longer no.1

    The team for the Gabba SHOULD have been: Warner, Cowan, Khawaja, Ponting, Clarke, Hussey, Wade, Butterworth, O'Keefe, Cutting, Copeland 12th: Faulkner

    Not only does it have the 4 best available bowlers with good variety (all with excellent averages of 25 or under and good strike rates), but the whole team can bat down to 11! Later, Marsh and Watson can come in for Ponting/Clarke and Khawaja and Harris and Cummins can come in for Butterworth and Cutting.

    Now someone tell me what's wrong with that team.

  • POSTED BY crugy on | December 1, 2011, 13:06 GMT

    Vettori is a kick-ass cricketer. He's better than Hadlee.

  • POSTED BY on | December 1, 2011, 12:26 GMT

    NZ will be happy that they are still in the match. Doesn't look ike a great batting track though - a little two-paced, it swung a bit and turned for lyon in the first session so anything over 250 isn't too shabby.

    @RoJayao - I'm pretty happy to see them have a bit of belief, playing positive cricket,even if it doesn't come off every innings. Much better than showing up with no belief, playing ultra defensively and still ending up 100/5 which is what usually happens.

  • POSTED BY lekharaj on | December 1, 2011, 11:43 GMT

    @RoJayao NZ might not a team with stars but they know their limits. Want McCullum says is correct Test Match is not over , they can come back in to this match. AUS got wickets because of NZ bad luck and careless shots but not because of good bowling from AUS. AUS success depends on other teams failure these days and thats not a good sign!

  • POSTED BY ozwriter on | December 1, 2011, 11:24 GMT

    'the spectacle of playing australia'? and before bracewell was saying 'we don't fear australia'. it looks like they are just a bit overwhelmed with playing their next door neighbours. atrocious shot selection was probably not helped by the warm up match where all 3 centuries for from the manual of T20/ODI cricket. only a few centuries/partnerships in test cricket are slash and dash, the majority require patience, perseverence and the building of an innings (e.g amla, clarke and smith most recently)

  • POSTED BY tanstell87 on | December 1, 2011, 11:00 GMT

    RoJauao talking as if Australia are number 1....sorry mate Aussies are number 4 & will go down the ladder soon....

  • POSTED BY Gizza on | December 1, 2011, 10:54 GMT

    @jonesy2, I felt the Aussie bowlers had their share of luck. Both of Starc's wickets were short and wide outside off stump. Ross Taylor's wicket was also due to a terrible shot the ball itself wasn't anything close to a jaffa. The only unlucky period was at the start during McCullum's onslaught.

  • POSTED BY FatBoysCanBat on | December 1, 2011, 9:58 GMT

    Jonesy2: Aussie didn't bowl good at all. The seamers bowled too much either side of a good length and were critical of bowling too straight at most times [apart from Siddle]. Lyon did look good but only had limited opportunities. Every single batsman got out to poor shot selection or execution. McCullum and Ryder slashed short-wide deliveries to point, Guptill drove loosely at a ball that he wasn't full enough hence he should have left it, Taylor got a wide half-volley and played-on off the inside edge, and Williamson turned a shortish ball from Lyon [which he should have punched down the ground] onto his thigh pad straight to Khawaja. There was only a couple of sustained spells - Siddle's first spell where he hit good channels, and Starc's second spell when he roughed up McCullum before getting his wicket from that loose shot.

  • POSTED BY satish619chandar on | December 1, 2011, 9:35 GMT

    You got second innings and this Australian team is perhaps a one which has a mini history of not holding a grip on the match.. It happened far too many times in last 20 tests..

  • POSTED BY RoJayao on | December 1, 2011, 9:29 GMT

    Gosh you gotta give it to the NZers, they nearly lose to Zimbabwe last outing and even after that atrocious display today they still believe they can win with their very modest attack! I said it before, batting on a road on a tiny ground and playing a test are very different, yet the smart ass NZ batsmen still thought they could smash everything and get away with it! You're number 8 in the world and for good reason I'm afraid!

  • POSTED BY jonesy2 on | December 1, 2011, 8:33 GMT

    haha they were lucky not to be all out for 100. the aussies bowled brilliantly without any luck

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  • POSTED BY jonesy2 on | December 1, 2011, 8:33 GMT

    haha they were lucky not to be all out for 100. the aussies bowled brilliantly without any luck

  • POSTED BY RoJayao on | December 1, 2011, 9:29 GMT

    Gosh you gotta give it to the NZers, they nearly lose to Zimbabwe last outing and even after that atrocious display today they still believe they can win with their very modest attack! I said it before, batting on a road on a tiny ground and playing a test are very different, yet the smart ass NZ batsmen still thought they could smash everything and get away with it! You're number 8 in the world and for good reason I'm afraid!

  • POSTED BY satish619chandar on | December 1, 2011, 9:35 GMT

    You got second innings and this Australian team is perhaps a one which has a mini history of not holding a grip on the match.. It happened far too many times in last 20 tests..

  • POSTED BY FatBoysCanBat on | December 1, 2011, 9:58 GMT

    Jonesy2: Aussie didn't bowl good at all. The seamers bowled too much either side of a good length and were critical of bowling too straight at most times [apart from Siddle]. Lyon did look good but only had limited opportunities. Every single batsman got out to poor shot selection or execution. McCullum and Ryder slashed short-wide deliveries to point, Guptill drove loosely at a ball that he wasn't full enough hence he should have left it, Taylor got a wide half-volley and played-on off the inside edge, and Williamson turned a shortish ball from Lyon [which he should have punched down the ground] onto his thigh pad straight to Khawaja. There was only a couple of sustained spells - Siddle's first spell where he hit good channels, and Starc's second spell when he roughed up McCullum before getting his wicket from that loose shot.

  • POSTED BY Gizza on | December 1, 2011, 10:54 GMT

    @jonesy2, I felt the Aussie bowlers had their share of luck. Both of Starc's wickets were short and wide outside off stump. Ross Taylor's wicket was also due to a terrible shot the ball itself wasn't anything close to a jaffa. The only unlucky period was at the start during McCullum's onslaught.

  • POSTED BY tanstell87 on | December 1, 2011, 11:00 GMT

    RoJauao talking as if Australia are number 1....sorry mate Aussies are number 4 & will go down the ladder soon....

  • POSTED BY ozwriter on | December 1, 2011, 11:24 GMT

    'the spectacle of playing australia'? and before bracewell was saying 'we don't fear australia'. it looks like they are just a bit overwhelmed with playing their next door neighbours. atrocious shot selection was probably not helped by the warm up match where all 3 centuries for from the manual of T20/ODI cricket. only a few centuries/partnerships in test cricket are slash and dash, the majority require patience, perseverence and the building of an innings (e.g amla, clarke and smith most recently)

  • POSTED BY lekharaj on | December 1, 2011, 11:43 GMT

    @RoJayao NZ might not a team with stars but they know their limits. Want McCullum says is correct Test Match is not over , they can come back in to this match. AUS got wickets because of NZ bad luck and careless shots but not because of good bowling from AUS. AUS success depends on other teams failure these days and thats not a good sign!

  • POSTED BY on | December 1, 2011, 12:26 GMT

    NZ will be happy that they are still in the match. Doesn't look ike a great batting track though - a little two-paced, it swung a bit and turned for lyon in the first session so anything over 250 isn't too shabby.

    @RoJayao - I'm pretty happy to see them have a bit of belief, playing positive cricket,even if it doesn't come off every innings. Much better than showing up with no belief, playing ultra defensively and still ending up 100/5 which is what usually happens.

  • POSTED BY crugy on | December 1, 2011, 13:06 GMT

    Vettori is a kick-ass cricketer. He's better than Hadlee.