Australia in New Zealand, 2014-15 February 16, 2016

Hesson wanted greener pitch at Basin Reserve


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'We were thoroughly outplayed' - Hesson

New Zealand's coach Mike Hesson has expressed his disappointment that the Basin Reserve pitch offered little seam movement for the fast men after the first session of the match. In the lead-up to the Test it was at times hard to determine which strip on the pitch square was to be used, such was the consistent grass cover, but Hesson said he would have liked it "much greener than it was" on match morning.

The toss proved significant as Steven Smith called correctly, sent New Zealand in and Australia rolled them for 183 before tea. Although New Zealand picked up a couple of early wickets in Australia's first innings the pitch flattened out much quicker than many of the players expected, and the Australians were able to go on and post 562 in their only innings.

"I would've liked this to be much greener than it was," Hesson said on Tuesday. "It certainly only seamed for two hours and I think that meant that both sides weren't able to be exposed in those conditions. It's a bit different when it seams for two hours, it makes the toss a little bit more important."

"Ideally you want both sides to have a bit of a crack at it if it does seam. You look at the wickets we lost in the first session they were all from good length deliveries and they were able to get the ball to move off the straight and expose some of our techniques. That's something we'd like to think if we were in a similar situation we'd be able to do something similar.

"We had four guys out defending in the first hour. I don't think that's mental error; there are times that you have to accept that they put the ball in good areas, the ball seams you're going to nick it. When the ball seams you do end up playing a little bit wider than you'd like to. We certainly did that in the first hour or so."

However, Hesson acknowledged that it was up to the batsmen to work out a way of coping in the seaming conditions, given the likelihood of a similar pitch in Christchurch on Saturday for the second Test. Although the New Zealand top order performed better in the second innings in Wellington, including with an 81-run opening stand, by then Australia were too far ahead in the match.

"We faced different conditions throughout the match," Hesson said. "We were challenged in the first session and if we were able to get through three down instead of five, possibly things could have been a little bit different. That's something we're going to have to get right in the next Test because likely we'll face conditions that will seam as well."

The other notable factor in the second innings was the reverse swing that Australia's fast bowlers managed to master early in the innings. The uncertainty that it created in the minds of the New Zealand batsmen contributed to the downfall of Kane Williamson, who was so productive in the recent Test series in Australia but made only 16 and 22 in the Wellington Test.

"When you're getting it to swing both ways that's a challenge," Hesson said. "Batsmen were talking about it a lot yesterday afternoon in terms of different ways to combat it. Kane's better than most in terms of being able to adjust his game but when the ball reverses both ways it's challenging and you need to think about what is the most challenging delivery - the ball that's attacking your stumps or the one going away.

"Every player has a slightly different technique on that. To be fair in New Zealand you don't get a lot of reverse swing 18 overs into a game on day three. It's something we face a heck of a lot more on the subcontinent than something we do here."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Gopalakrishna on February 18, 2016, 17:34 GMT

    NZ could not cope well with moving ball, Period. No batsmen out of their line up seem better equipped bare Kane, Williamson. Unfortunately he could not carry his bat for more time in both innings. Coming to Ausie batsmen they seem to be in very good touch and form of their lives, specially Smith, Kwaja and Voges et el. Their bowling was spot on in both innings. I know there will be too any Ausie batters these cricinfo forums from India, England and SA. But hey have to accept the fact Ausies outplayed NZ in 1st test. I don't see any better result either from 2nd test unless NZ apply themselves and play more than 100% in all departments. Coming to that noball decision such decisions are part and parcel of the game at times they favor different teams. Just let us try to learn live with fact of the day rather than coming out with lame excuses.

  • Shanti on February 18, 2016, 14:01 GMT

    @JAYZUZ ON FEBRUARY 17, 2016, 0:41 GMT

    Don't contradict yourself. On the one hand you say India do not provide variety of pitches to the visiting teams. And, within the same post you say that India provided variety of pitches to Sri Lanka. SL is part of India or what?

  • Shanti on February 18, 2016, 13:53 GMT


    Pitch-tempering is OK. Pitches need to be tempered through right amount of rolling keeping /cropping grass etc to make it suitable for a test match. But tampering should be condemned in the strongest terms, whether it is done by OZ or NZ.

  • xxxxx on February 18, 2016, 9:39 GMT

    Have just read the reaction of Christchurch's groundsman to Hesson's comments here on Cricinfo. Great kudos and respect to Rupert Bool for putting a higher priority on his own professionalism and the future of Test cricket rather than short-term vested interests. I have enjoyed that beautiful region of NZ since first visiting some decades ago and am pleased to see Aus playing there at what must be a nervous time for all Cantabrians. Looking forward to some excellent, competitive cricket between these two sides.

  • Tom on February 18, 2016, 9:19 GMT

    If NZ could overcome the urge to wallow in self pity their lamentable record in test cricket over a lengthy time might improve

  • Asim on February 18, 2016, 8:01 GMT

    Pity that's the only way Kiwis think they can tackle Aussies. Pitch-tempering is killing the credibility of test cricket.

  • Prem on February 18, 2016, 3:12 GMT

    Hesson should not opened his mouth to prove what we all know about him and his weird thinking.

  • Greg on February 17, 2016, 23:57 GMT

    Sack Hesson and sack all coaches who need specially prepared conditions before they can do their job. Test cricket will kill itself if it becomes a grand tour of exhibition matches played in sheltered workshop conditions so that home TV audiences can enjoy the illusion of how great their team is. Of course different countries have different climates, different soils and different traditions. Different grounds do. Let that be enough. The rest is cheating.

  • David on February 17, 2016, 23:56 GMT

    @ Alex Ward - Reverse swing. Australia got it to go, we didn't. "Outplayed comprehensively" pretty much sums it up.

  • Mashuq on February 17, 2016, 19:34 GMT

    Given the absence of a couple of players, Hesson has a problem. The batting is a worry, so I'd keep Anderson and go without a spinner. Pick both Henry and Wagner: Latham, Guptill, Williamson, Nicholls, McCullum, Anderson, Watling, Wagner, Henry, Southey, Boult. It's a temptation to play Craig for Wagner but the latter's angles might be tougher than Craig's pies. KW's offies will have to do.

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