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November 23, 2008
Daniel Vettori will look for a magic cure to New Zealand's traditional batting woes before Friday's second Test as they attempt the difficult task of levelling the series in Adelaide. One of the many worries for Vettori when he took over the leadership from Stephen Fleming in 2007 was the side's lack of run-scoring ability and it was on display again in Brisbane as they were dismissed for 156 and 177 on the way to a 149-run defeat.
"It's been a problem well before I was captain," Vettori said. "A lot of guys went through it and tried to find ways of redeeming it. I still look at the guys and think they're extremely talented, but we have to turn that talent into consistent performances and unfortunately we're not just getting that."
A lack of output from the batsmen is a long-term problem and it is made harder by the fact five of the current top six have played fewer than 20 Tests. Vettori hopes his team-mates will learn quickly on the job and develop in to strong international players.
"We've always produced quality bowlers but with the batting there's Martin Crowe, who averages 45 with 17 Test hundreds, and then there's a pretty big gap," he said. "Historically, we've always struggled with our batting. But I look at Jesse Ryder, I look at Ross Taylor, Jamie How, Brendon McCullum and Daniel Flynn, who are very good players, and once they have played 20 Test matches in those positions they can average 40 and can be very good players.
"At the moment we're trying to work with some very young guys, some very inexperienced guys. I think even Australian guys in their first 10 Test matches would find it difficult coming into conditions like this."
Taylor top scored for New Zealand with 75 in the second innings but only he and Ryder looked capable of attacking Australia, while Daniel Flynn stood firm on both occasions from No. 6. Vettori will resist making many changes to the line-up and is reluctant to alter the order.
"Jesse has always batted in that area his whole career and Daniel has batted five, so we would have been changing and probably upsetting a guy in his third Test and a guy in his sixth Test," he said. "It would be a bit too much."
Despite the side's batting woes, Vettori does not believe he is resigned to a couple of tough years in charge. "I do have a lot of faith in them," he said. "I see the talent in them and I think they are very good players. I'll back them. We'll get them improving, we have to accelerate that improvement.
"Most guys maybe get 15 Tests to improve themselves and we're trying to get guys to do that in five to 10. I hope we can turn it around come Adelaide because Adelaide is renowned as a great batting deck. If we can get some guys to stand up there and get those hundreds on the board, then I think we give ourselves a chance with our bowling line-up."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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