New Zealand v Zimbabwe, only Test, Napier January 29, 2012

Want to make winning a habit - Southee

ESPNcricinfo staff

In Hobart last December, after winning a Test in Australia for the first time in 26 years, New Zealand celebrated their achievement in a new way. The players strolled out to the pitch in their whites, sang a team song, and settled down to enjoy a few drinks to mark the moment. They did it again in Napier after hammering Zimbabwe. Tim Southee said the acting-captain Brendon McCullum was the brains behind the celebration and that New Zealand wanted to make it an often-repeated ritual.

"It's a pledge which has been around a long time," Southee said. "Brendon McCullum has been driving it. It's something we will make a tradition as Test wins keep coming."

Of their four Tests this summer, New Zealand have won three, and Southee hoped victory would become a habit for this team. "It's a great thing to win Test matches. It's an amazing feeling and we are slowly making a bit of a habit of it. Hopefully we can have this group of guys together for a long time and keep that winning feeling."

In each of those victories, New Zealand displayed a different aspect of their recent development: strong temperament in tight game in Bulawayo, the ability to beat some of the best in Hobart and ruthlessness in Napier. The innings-and-301-run victory at McLean Park could have been more emphatic if most of the second day had not been washed out.

"If the rain hadn't come it could have been all over in two days or two and a half days," Southee said. "It was a dream day. Days like that are what you play Test cricket for. It was a great to have a win, and to win so convincingly and build on that game from Hobart."

Like they did at Bellerive Oval, New Zealand played four fast bowlers in Napier, on a pitch that assisted the quicks. Seventeen wickets fell to pace, eight of them to Chris Martin, as Zimbabwe were dismissed twice in a day. "We went with the four-seamer attack again. In the first innings everyone chipped in," Southee said. "But, in the second innings, it was just an outstanding individual performance by Chris. The way he bowled showed there's still a bit of kick in the old boy yet."

With Martin guiding the young bowlers such as Southee, Trent Boult and Doug Bracewell, Southee said New Zealand had a good balance. "The experience of the older guys and the excitement of the young guys mixed in is great. We are very excited about what the future holds."

The immediate future holds three ODIs and two Twenty20s against Zimbabwe before the series against South Africa, which Southee calls "the key of the summer," starting with three T20s and three ODIs. The glut of limited-overs cricket means New Zealand will have to make a speedy adjustment to the format, and Southee was confident they would. "It wasn't that long ago that we had a white ball in our hands and it shouldn't take too long to adapt back to that," he said. "It will just be a narrowing down of skills and practicing death and slower balls, change of pace and things like that."

New Zealand's first ODI against Zimbabwe is in Dunedin on February 3.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ryan on January 30, 2012, 23:57 GMT

    @Spelele: This same Australian team has just destroyed India 4-0 and the majority of the players were the same - the only changes were Cowan for Hughes [which made a bit of a difference], Harris for Starc and Hilfenhaus for Pattinson [which they didn't lose or gain anything]. I think we will see NZ push SA and maybe even take one match off them. Series result: 2-1 in favour of SA. @thenoostar: I agree mate, Southee is the first seamer on the chopping block and unless he performs Wagner will take his spot when he is available.

  • Matt on January 30, 2012, 11:47 GMT

    *yawn* Will every New Zealand cricket related article from now on mention that win in Hobart? Don't get me wrong... good on them, they deserved to win that game after some great bowling on the 5th day, but come on - their first win against Australia in 23 attempts (over a 19 year period) came after a despicable capitulation in Brisbane the week before to one of the weakest Australian sides in some time. Any half decent side would of put away that particular Zimbabwe side like they did on the weekend. South Africa will give them a reality check on home soil and no doubt Australia will be eyeing off their next Test series in anticipation as lightning won't strike twice.

  • Neriyan on January 30, 2012, 8:51 GMT

    Sorry guys but this "amazing" run of victories will end against South Africa. I see Smith, Amla, de Villiers, Kallis etc boosting their averages while Steyn, Morkel, Tahir, de Lange etc lower theirs. Thank you New Zealand!

  • Nick on January 30, 2012, 7:45 GMT

    Start taking some wickets Tim and you might be part of that bright future.

  • ntokozo on January 30, 2012, 7:32 GMT

    Oh please! Let's see how much of a habit winning becomes when SA comes around. This NZ side are ordinary, at best. One win against a toothless Zimbabwe means nothing. And before people start mentioning their win in Aus, they should consider that Aus are rebuilding, and did get bowled out for 47 against SA. They themselves are pretty woeful when it comes to batting. Always prone to collapses whenever Clarke and Ponting fail. But we'll see how powerful this NZ side are when SA are here. For one, I think their batting is too reliant on Taylor and Guptil, who are not world class themselves. With a top-ranked Steyn, awkward to face Morkel, and a Philander who has taken the world by storm, SA can bowl any side out for less than 100 as they've shown with Srilanka as well. I think we'll see a lot of low scores from NZ in the upcoming series.

  • Ryan on January 30, 2012, 6:26 GMT

    I believe we have the opportunity to achieve something special with this playing group and a number of others pushing for selection [Wagner, Henry, Kitchen, Latham, Nicol, Nethula to name a few]. This is a relatively young team with only Vettori and Martin over 30 and these guys will be together for a number of years. In the next 3-4 years we will be challenging the likes of England, Aussie, Pakistan and South Africa [who I think we will take one test off them in the upcoming series] for the top 2-3 spots in the Test rankings.

  • Andrew on January 30, 2012, 3:57 GMT

    NZ looking well placed to make a series of it against the Saffas! If Sth Africa blow this series - they'll never be #1!

  • Dummy4 on January 30, 2012, 0:13 GMT

    No offence to Zimbabwe but come on Southee its just Zimbabwe . I will give you credit for beating us at Tassie but Zimbabwe isn't what you would call a measuring stick. No offence to them. They have a long way to go and I would love them to be a dominating force in the future to shut people like myself up but Zimbabwe have a long way to go. I think New Zealand will realise the difference when they play South Africa in the up and coming tour. Now with England loosing to Pakistan South Africa have a chance to go to No.1 on the rankings. They will be a force to reckon with. To beat them you will have to be aggressive from the start. New Zealand will have to dictate terms and let South Africa know that they are here to win not just show up. Good Luck boys you will need it.

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