Vettori slams 'poor' batting effort
New Zealand will consider playing an extra batsman in the first Test and dropping one of their four fast bowlers after the side's disappointing effort in the tour match loss to New South Wales. Jamie How's first-innings 170 was the only real batting bright spot in the six-wicket defeat, which the captain Daniel Vettori said was unacceptable.
"Absolutely not," Vettori said after the match. "We came here with a desire to win the game and the performance for the majority of it, particularly with the bat, was pretty poor."
New Zealand went in to their only warm-up game with six specialist batsmen, including the wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum. That gave them room to play four seamers but the poor result will force them to consider including Peter Fulton to bolster the batting when the Test starts at the Gabba on Thursday.
"A couple of decisions may need to be made to try and make sure that balance is right, if we actually did have enough batting with myself at No. 7," Vettori said. "It's a fine line whether we'll get more out of another batsman coming in, or the fourth seamer. In the next few days we'll have a look at that wicket and go from there. "
Vettori at No. 7 was not the problem - he made 73 in the second innings - but the lack of runs from the top four, How excluded, was a concern. Totals of 266 and 256 frustrated Vettori, especially considering the New South Wales attack was significantly under-strength.
"Particularly when a guy gets 170 on the first day and rest of us can only manage just under 100," Vettori said. "We know to compete with Australia we've got to put at least 350 on the board in the first innings and take our chances from there. If we've got any chance in Brisbane that's what we have to do."
But Vettori praised How's effort as one of the best first-class innings he had witnessed and he said How would enter the Test brimming with confidence. Another positive sign was the bowling of Chris Martin, who finished with match figures of 5 for 88, although Tim Southee collected only one wicket and could face a nervous wait to see if he is retained.
Whoever the selectors go for, New Zealand are well aware that they will need to be at their very best to challenge Australia. "Australia's the No. 1 team in the world and we're No. 7," Vettori said, "so we've got far more to prove than they have."