New Zealand still losing the mental battle
Too often in Test cricket, New Zealand have lapsed during key moments after being competitive for long periods, says Max Bania in TVNZ, like Martin Guptill losing his concentration after playing well for his 97 in the first innings of the Antigua Test against West Indies.
Eliminating those mental microsleeps; clearing the mind of all else and focusing on nothing other than the next delivery can mean the difference between victory and defeat. Wearing the opposition bowlers down through sheer will and concentration may not be glamorous, but it's means to a far more fruitful end. And the New Zealanders only need cast their eyes across the Atlantic to South Africa's batting epic in their first Test against England to see it can be done.
Osman Samiuddin, writing in The National, points out a stagnation in New Zealand cricket seen in its lack of Test wins in the past decade.
Take a peek at New Zealand, which for some time has been drifting untethered towards a long dark sky of indifference and irrelevance.In the last decade, they have won just four Test series against anyone other than Bangladesh and Zimbabwe and two if the West Indies are not included. So if they do lose this series, it has the makings of a very significant landmark in a continuing fall.
Devashish Fuloria is a sub-editor with ESPNcricinfo