New Zealand v Australia, 1st Test, Wellington, 5th day March 23, 2010

Vettori calls for significant improvement

34

Daniel Vettori has experienced a strong sense of déjà vu over the past five days. A first-innings team failure, an admirable but futile second-innings fight and a heavy reliance on the lower-order batting have been recurring features of New Zealand's Test play over the past few years. But despite being bundled out for 157 and being made to follow-on, Vettori is not convinced bolstering the batting for the second Test in Hamilton would make any difference.

"I think it needs a run-scoring extra batsman," Vettori said when asked if the team needed another specialist. "It's all well and good to pick someone. Most of our runs came from Brendon [McCullum] and myself, so if we brought another batsman in it would just push us down. Whether that is the right answer or not, I'm not sure."

He has a point. Apart from the 83 from Tim McIntosh in the second innings, there weren't many contributions of note from the top five in the ten-wicket defeat. Peter Ingram will be under pressure to hold his place after making 5 and 1, BJ Watling's second-day golden duck was followed by an unconvincing 33, and Ross Taylor and Martin Guptill made middling contributions without really having an impact.

New Zealand will choose their squad for the second Test on Wednesday and it is unclear if the balance of the side will be altered. Batting at No. 6, Vettori made 46 and 77 while McCullum scored 24 and 104, but it is first-innings runs that New Zealand need to find.

However, a strong bowling line-up is just as important for a team that took only five wickets for the match. "We obviously need to lift a lot, particularly our first-innings efforts," Vettori said. "We fought hard in that second innings but we need to show more penetration with the ball in that first innings and then stand up a bit more with the bat.

"It's been a trait of ours, particularly at the Basin, to get bowled out cheaply in the first innings and then fight pretty hard in the second. We can't afford to do that. We can't afford to be on the back foot at any stage against Australia in Hamilton."

The challenge is replicating the effort that New Zealand displayed on the weather-affected fourth day, when they lost only one wicket and pushed themselves into a strong position to save the match. The same fight could not be repeated on the fifth morning and they lost their last four wickets for 19 runs, allowing Australia a comfortable chase of 106.

"The fourth day was obviously our best day of the Test match," Vettori said. "It's something that we need to replicate over the whole five days to give ourselves a chance against Australia. Unfortunately we weren't able to build that pressure for long enough. After what we did yesterday it was a little bit disappointing to front up today and lose quick wickets. We wanted to bat for a long period of time but that's the nature of the game."

The key wicket was that of McCullum, who began the day on 94 and required only three balls to bring up his fifth Test century. In the fourth over McCullum edged to slip and was disappointed not to go on and bat New Zealand into a better position.

"I was pleased with how I was able to adjust my game from the way I played in the first innings and to try and give us an opportunity to put a partnership on with Dan and then Daryl [Tuffey] as well," McCullum said. "Against a very good team it rates as my best Test century. But when you lose a game it doesn't quite have the same feeling."

Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Grutness on March 24, 2010, 10:08 GMT

    Sorry )cta, Nathan McCullum isn't fit at the moment for that no 9 spot - he got injured in the Otago v CD game. If you want a second spinner in that line-up it'll have to be Patel 9who deserves to be more than bringing out the drinks like he's been doing almost every match lately).

  • onlinegamer55 on March 24, 2010, 8:02 GMT

    I'm not so sure that Brendon McCullum would be selected in Australia's *test team*, but he would be a definite selection in Australia's T20 team (33 innings, average of 36.55, strike rate of 133.19, 1 century, 6 fifties, one of only two centurions in the format of the game, a *definite selection* as a *specialist batsmen*). On the other hand, I'm not so sure that McCullum would be selected as a wicket-keeper batsmen in Australia's ODI team, let alone as a specialist batsmen; his average of under 30 isn't good enough. Daniel Vettori, of course would be a definite selection even without his batting ability, given Australia's current "lack-of-quality-spinner problem". But, in the same vein, I'm not so sure Vettori would be selected in Warne's era; teams don't usually select two spinners in a team no matter how good they are. This basically proves that deciding whether a player will get selected in specific international teams really depends on factors other than the player's talent.

  • Itchy on March 24, 2010, 6:30 GMT

    @mraotxt - don't even think I would replace Haddin with McCullum. Vettori would be the only obvious choice. Unless of course you would replace a batsman with McCullum but who would you choose?

  • cheesemethod on March 24, 2010, 4:36 GMT

    Exactly mraotxt. thats why even though they lost the first test against AUS, they tied the t20 and lost 3-2 in the ODIs. For the huge gap in population/development/financial situation NZ in my opinion does very well in sport generally. NZ has a solid limited overs squad who can take on the best and probably 2 players short of a really good test team. Give them time.

  • on March 24, 2010, 4:18 GMT

    How would Mcullum make an australian side ahead of haddin or pain and hartly for that matter

  • knowledge_eater on March 24, 2010, 3:37 GMT

    @MB81 I am not sure if you are implying that only fast bowlers who smokes 90 mph can win you test match, then I would say Pakistan should have been at the top, there are more element need to win test match. If you have proper fitness, a decent pace consistent bowler will get you wickets e.g. Zaheer Khan Despite whatever condition or pitch you are bowling on. Or even decent spinner like Vettori

  • knowledge_eater on March 24, 2010, 3:22 GMT

    @ MB81 If I remember correctly Bond had been injured many times, in fact injury almost finishes his career once. So does he want to finish his career, which has literally not more than 3-4 years left by playing test and jeopardizing his short term career ? He is still very dangerous asset in short term. Too me personally, NZ is going through transition phase. If I want to make Clone of Vettori - the wizard of Black(NZ) Magic, i would do the same thing Nz did with him. They introduced him when he was only Teen-ager. I was big fan of Chris Cairns, I thought after him Nz will suffer, but even then still Nz is very dangerous side in short-term format. I heard someone saying Nz will not miss O'brian, well i think they are. I hope Taylor shows his power now. I used to hear story in late 90's that NZ players do double job most of them are/were Teachers or farmers or doing some business. However, they were/are still producing decent players despite having big bully close haha jokes

  • scrubz on March 24, 2010, 3:11 GMT

    NZ now have two number 11's with just as bad techniques!!!!!. I think Martin has done his dash, for a front line seamer he doesn't seem to be all that effective. We need a leg spinner as well but why we haven't produced any is a mystery. Top order must try harder, Sinclair has been found out time and time again by Aus. Well done Aus, good effort esp by Bollinger and Clarke.

  • robotiger on March 24, 2010, 3:04 GMT

    @pgdawson: I agree about Williamson being given an extended go. I also think it would be nice to bring him in at no6 for the next couple of seasons (like Aussie did with Ponting originally), but given that no one else seems to be able to handle it, he will be put at no3 I'm guessing. Agree with comments - a strike bowler wouldn't go a miss... oh and a cure for cancer while you are at it.

  • Blearyeyes on March 24, 2010, 1:19 GMT

    Kane Williamson has now been included in the squad for the next test, as has Sinclair. Exciting that Williamson may be given a chance, although something tells me it is more likely Sinclair may get yet another go (frustrating when you think he has been given another chance again and again only to fail miserably each time). However, I tend to think that either Williamson or Sinclair could hardly be a worse selection than Peter Ingram - uugggh.

  • Grutness on March 24, 2010, 10:08 GMT

    Sorry )cta, Nathan McCullum isn't fit at the moment for that no 9 spot - he got injured in the Otago v CD game. If you want a second spinner in that line-up it'll have to be Patel 9who deserves to be more than bringing out the drinks like he's been doing almost every match lately).

  • onlinegamer55 on March 24, 2010, 8:02 GMT

    I'm not so sure that Brendon McCullum would be selected in Australia's *test team*, but he would be a definite selection in Australia's T20 team (33 innings, average of 36.55, strike rate of 133.19, 1 century, 6 fifties, one of only two centurions in the format of the game, a *definite selection* as a *specialist batsmen*). On the other hand, I'm not so sure that McCullum would be selected as a wicket-keeper batsmen in Australia's ODI team, let alone as a specialist batsmen; his average of under 30 isn't good enough. Daniel Vettori, of course would be a definite selection even without his batting ability, given Australia's current "lack-of-quality-spinner problem". But, in the same vein, I'm not so sure Vettori would be selected in Warne's era; teams don't usually select two spinners in a team no matter how good they are. This basically proves that deciding whether a player will get selected in specific international teams really depends on factors other than the player's talent.

  • Itchy on March 24, 2010, 6:30 GMT

    @mraotxt - don't even think I would replace Haddin with McCullum. Vettori would be the only obvious choice. Unless of course you would replace a batsman with McCullum but who would you choose?

  • cheesemethod on March 24, 2010, 4:36 GMT

    Exactly mraotxt. thats why even though they lost the first test against AUS, they tied the t20 and lost 3-2 in the ODIs. For the huge gap in population/development/financial situation NZ in my opinion does very well in sport generally. NZ has a solid limited overs squad who can take on the best and probably 2 players short of a really good test team. Give them time.

  • on March 24, 2010, 4:18 GMT

    How would Mcullum make an australian side ahead of haddin or pain and hartly for that matter

  • knowledge_eater on March 24, 2010, 3:37 GMT

    @MB81 I am not sure if you are implying that only fast bowlers who smokes 90 mph can win you test match, then I would say Pakistan should have been at the top, there are more element need to win test match. If you have proper fitness, a decent pace consistent bowler will get you wickets e.g. Zaheer Khan Despite whatever condition or pitch you are bowling on. Or even decent spinner like Vettori

  • knowledge_eater on March 24, 2010, 3:22 GMT

    @ MB81 If I remember correctly Bond had been injured many times, in fact injury almost finishes his career once. So does he want to finish his career, which has literally not more than 3-4 years left by playing test and jeopardizing his short term career ? He is still very dangerous asset in short term. Too me personally, NZ is going through transition phase. If I want to make Clone of Vettori - the wizard of Black(NZ) Magic, i would do the same thing Nz did with him. They introduced him when he was only Teen-ager. I was big fan of Chris Cairns, I thought after him Nz will suffer, but even then still Nz is very dangerous side in short-term format. I heard someone saying Nz will not miss O'brian, well i think they are. I hope Taylor shows his power now. I used to hear story in late 90's that NZ players do double job most of them are/were Teachers or farmers or doing some business. However, they were/are still producing decent players despite having big bully close haha jokes

  • scrubz on March 24, 2010, 3:11 GMT

    NZ now have two number 11's with just as bad techniques!!!!!. I think Martin has done his dash, for a front line seamer he doesn't seem to be all that effective. We need a leg spinner as well but why we haven't produced any is a mystery. Top order must try harder, Sinclair has been found out time and time again by Aus. Well done Aus, good effort esp by Bollinger and Clarke.

  • robotiger on March 24, 2010, 3:04 GMT

    @pgdawson: I agree about Williamson being given an extended go. I also think it would be nice to bring him in at no6 for the next couple of seasons (like Aussie did with Ponting originally), but given that no one else seems to be able to handle it, he will be put at no3 I'm guessing. Agree with comments - a strike bowler wouldn't go a miss... oh and a cure for cancer while you are at it.

  • Blearyeyes on March 24, 2010, 1:19 GMT

    Kane Williamson has now been included in the squad for the next test, as has Sinclair. Exciting that Williamson may be given a chance, although something tells me it is more likely Sinclair may get yet another go (frustrating when you think he has been given another chance again and again only to fail miserably each time). However, I tend to think that either Williamson or Sinclair could hardly be a worse selection than Peter Ingram - uugggh.

  • Octa on March 24, 2010, 0:44 GMT

    New Zealand should have blooded Williamson against Pakistan and Bangladesh. Our best fit 11 are; 1. McIntosh (only worthy opener in the country) 2. Guptil (ability to play straight and judge line and length he can open) 3. Sinclair (playing at his best ever now) 4. Taylor 5. Williamson (ideal number 3 for future but start at 5 like other good sides do) 6. McCullum (put gloves away and bat freely) 7 Hopkins (mental strength and good form and skilled keeper) 8 Vettori 9 N McCullum/Southee 10 Arnel 11 Martin.

    when Ryder is fit he will replace Sinclair and by then Williamson can slot into 3 and Ryder bat freestyle at 5.

    NZ major flaw s not actually the batting its the strike limitations in the bowling Once McKay is fit he will replace Martin. Once Tuffey is fit he will take his no9 position back.

    NZ selectors are not brave enough to field our best 11 and do not seem to have the foresight to push NZ toward the best team going forward for the next few years.

  • mraotxt on March 23, 2010, 22:22 GMT

    Hey um MB81 i agree with you that only MCullum and Vettori would make an australian cricket team, but you have got to remember australia have a much higher quality domestic and developmet scene. So if the NZ players were exposed to this level of domestic cricket early on, the NZ side would be much better. The gap is huge. Imagine putting central districts vs NSW ina first class game. It would be exactly like that test we just witnessed.

  • cheesemethod on March 23, 2010, 21:31 GMT

    If Pontings smart, he'll put NZ into bat first in Hamilton. NZs only hope of winning a test will be to chase down an Aussie total in the 4th innings after a declaration. The one thing I do like about Ponting is when batting first, he'll risk a loss for a win and never play for a draw which gives the opposition team a sniff at winning. Many other captains don't know when to stop. I've always wondered, do NZ have a bowling machine at training that can deliver at 150-160kph? Maybe brush the cobwebs off and give it a spin

  • Grutness on March 23, 2010, 20:56 GMT

    Though his previous test performances have been middling, Craig Cumming is currently in the form of his career - three centuries in his last five matches. NZ could do worse than to recall him. And why oh why have they not approached Kane Williamson yet???

  • Jimmy1724 on March 23, 2010, 20:50 GMT

    The problem for New Zealand is that that team was close to being the best 11 available.

  • karl_os on March 23, 2010, 19:20 GMT

    Strange that most people on here have said bring in Williamson and yet the selectors can't see it "he's too young" or "hasn't had enough 1st class under his belt" are very weak excuses. How old was Vettori when he played his first test? how old are some of the sub continent test players for that matter? and I am pretty sure he can gain more experience from Test matches than he could from 1st class. I also agree that Hopkins should be looked at, even purely as a batter. And from a bowling side of things lets look at having 2 spinners, at least it would be a point of difference and do we really need 4 seamers? Australia's 3 seamers were still bending their backs on day 5 and getting wickets! For the second spinner I would have to go for N McCullum, turns the bowl as much as Patel but can at least get the odd run. However I am sure the selectors in their "wisdom" will keep with the status quo

  • on March 23, 2010, 17:40 GMT

    The problem isn't the batting, it's the lack of a strike bowling attack. Only taking 5 wickets in this test, one of which was a run out, underlines NZ's test wins will continue to be very rare or never against the world's top 3 teams. The last win against Australia was 17 years ago, and even that was an underwhelming match.

  • Amu7 on March 23, 2010, 16:16 GMT

    NZ bowling was pathetic. On fresh pitch at Basin in Oz first Inns, all they could manage was 5 wickets and that was their tally for the match.Cant exactly win a match by taking just 5 wickets.

  • mautan on March 23, 2010, 14:28 GMT

    PETER INGRAM...my god. Honestly, forget the low scores, but the guy looks like a number 10-11 slogger. Never seen any frontline batsman in the world with that bad a technique. The guy just stands in his place and tires to hammer the ball. At best, and that is being generous, he can play domestic t20. The fact that he scored 200 plus in domestic first class, says a bit of the class available. Mathew Sinclair has failed before, but no one can deny that he has the class and technique. The question is if he can deliver. However, you just have to go with class. You don't select guys like Ingram who will not even make it to most of the Ranji teams in India. How can the coach, captain and selectors miss that??On top of that the coach was adamant almost to the extent of being stubborn that he has his lineup for 1st test and Sinclair will NOT get a look in. Read pre test reports.. How amazing. In a way they deserve it.

  • pgdawson on March 23, 2010, 12:46 GMT

    I agree that Sinclair has done his dash. He is like James Franklin (and now I think Peter Ingram can be put in the same group), guys who can do very well at First Class level but don't make the step up to international class. I think Ingram is just a placeholder until Ryder comes back anyway, he is our second best batsman and he's been out for a very long time. I think we have underestimated his contributions to the team. I know they're thinking about giving Williamson another year in 1st class, not sure if it will help but I think with his talent, when they finally get him into the side it should be with the proviso that he will be there a long time and they will give him the chances to grow at Intl level, like Ross Taylor has done, rather than drop him if he doesn't do well early on.

  • MB81 on March 23, 2010, 12:16 GMT

    New Zealand are also missing a few decent players, if they had them with them it would be a slightly different case.

    1-Mcintosh 2-Guptil 3-Williamson 4-Ryder 5-Taylor 6-Vettori 7-Mcullum 8-Oram 9-Tuffey 10-Southe 11-Bond*

    * Bond needs to come out of Test match retirement, when they have him they look a world class outfit i would pay him whatever he wants.

  • MB81 on March 23, 2010, 12:09 GMT

    Kiwi's are desperatly missing Shane Bond, they don't have a world quality test bowler who can bowl 90mph+ all the top teams in the last 15 years(Exception India) have one. Australia- Brett Lee, Mitchell Johnson South Africa- Dale Steyn, Makhya Ntini Pakistan- Shoaib Akhtar, Mohhamed Aamer, Waqar Younis Sri Lanka- Lassith Malinga

    Also missing 1 world class batsmen who averages over 50 to support Vettori, Taylor, Guptil who are half decent, maybe Jesse Ryder if he can get fit??

    So if you compared the 2 teams which NZ player would get into the Aussies team?? I can think of Vettori deffinately and maybe MCullum.

  • 26overt on March 23, 2010, 11:30 GMT

    @ Dyldog_NZ

    You forgot Jessie Ryder 1. McIntosh 2. Watling 3. Guptill 4. Taylor 5. Ryder 6. Williamson 7. Vettori 8. McCullum 9.Southee/Tuffey 10.Arnel 11. McKay 12th Man: Southee/Tuffey

    Ryder, Williamson, Guptill - All can Bowl (Ryder 4th Seamer)

  • Jmoney90 on March 23, 2010, 10:59 GMT

    I am an Australian, yet i feel so sorry for Daniel Vettori. Such an amazing player, patient and good captain having to seemingly do everything himself. It must really start to get old after a while. Hopefully Ryder will be back soon, and Williamson selected soon so NZ's form picks up.

  • Flemy on March 23, 2010, 9:56 GMT

    They must bring back Vincent as he is one of there opners who got hundreds even against ausies he got one, drop Ingram and also bring jeetan patel.

  • on March 23, 2010, 9:18 GMT

    Sinclair perhaps has a technique to do a job Ingram certainly hasnt ! Hopkins has the mettle to hold up the Aussies. Test cricket is a different game ! Watch the way McCullum gets behind the ball instead of him usually playing beside it in 20 and 50 over forms, maybe Baz can play as a batsman and let Hopkins keep ! Greatbach will teach theese others (taylor and co) to dig in ! The Kiwis lack penetration with thier bowling thats hard to solve ? As for the stangoes on the other articles that think Hussey needs to go you have have rocks in your head! does it hurt ?

  • cook on March 23, 2010, 9:10 GMT

    New Zealand really need another Martin Crowe or a good batsmen like that in their side. As soon as one batsmen lifts, the whole team lifts. It's difficult to know what team to put in to compete against Australia. New Zealand has lots of bits and peices players, hopefully their team will come good soon.

  • keeping-it-real06 on March 23, 2010, 8:56 GMT

    They should bring in Hopkins and leave Watling just take out Ingram. Put Hokins at 5 and just move everyone else up 1. They need a strike bowler too. Need someone who can get wickets and be able to break partnerships like Bond did. Going to be hard to replace Bond but it needs to happen if we want to have any chance of being able to beat quality test teams.

  • onlinegamer55 on March 23, 2010, 8:41 GMT

    The "Kane Williamson question" is obviously going to be raised at this point. Should New Zealand go with a 19 year-old batsmen with a first class average of 48.34 (31 innings, 4 centuries, 6 fifities, highest score of 192) and a list A average of 57 (24 innings, 3 centuries, 5 fifties, highest score of 108*, strike rate of 77.08)? Apart from Matthew Sinclair, Jessy Ryder, Ross Taylor and Peter Fulton (who was an absolute flunk when given a test call-up), hardly any domestic batsmen in the country average over 40. In fact, the top 3 New Zealand batsmen, McIntosh, Ingram and Watling, all average approximately 30 in first class. Does that really constitute a world-class batsmen? An average 30 batsmen wouldn't even get selected in the Australian domestic arena let alone the international one. When your average gets into the 20-30 region, you are really starting to humiliate yourself. The point is that unless they wish to give Sinclair another go, only Williamson can save them from defeat.

  • malcs on March 23, 2010, 7:39 GMT

    Sinclair is a dead end street, and it seems clear Ingram is not up to the challenge. Martin is past it. Its tricky that Styris has opted out when he would walk into the team. I can't help feeling Hopkins could be worth a shot, he just scored a double hundred this week in domestic cricket - shows stickability and mental toughness. Let McCullum bat 6, Hopkins 7...

    I'm concerned about Watling too, you can't stay in and not perform indefinately. But all we have waiting in the wings are perenial underperformers like Daniel Flynn and Peter Fulton. Still I think its too soon for Williamson, he's a real talent, and I think they should do everything they can to make sure he's ready, and doesn't get burned too early. No matter what shuffling you do, we're a decent opener, number 3 batsmen and strike bowler short of a competitive team. Perhaps we ask Rigger, Andrew Jones and Danny Morrison to stage comebacks...

  • NikhilPapad3 on March 23, 2010, 6:45 GMT

    Im suprised Nz made it to the 5th day, thats quite an improvement, i though that they would have been rolled by day4. Good on them

  • youfoundme on March 23, 2010, 6:09 GMT

    It's not actually our batting that's the problem, I think when you look at the first innings it was just great bowling from the Aussie pace attack, no one really stood up to the challenge. But the 2nd innings was different as the score care showed, a well built performance that started from the top order in McIntosh and was kept alive by Vettori and McCullum. Not everyone needs to fire in a Test match, just a solid performance from a few individuals with some good partnerships on the way. Our bowling attack on the other hand lacks the penetration, the ability to take wickets. It wouldn't hurt bringing in some new blood and getting rid of Martin for a change, which NZ come to rely on so much for some reason. Our best squad taking into account injuries and retirements would be - 1. McIntosh 2. Watling 3. Williamson 4. Taylor 5. Guptill 6. Vettori 7. McCullum 8. Franklin 9. Southee 10. Wagner (Not sure if he is eligible yet but definitely a future prospect) 11. Arnel

  • on March 23, 2010, 5:23 GMT

    What's it going to take to pick Sinclair? The line up should be, 1. McIntosh, 2. Guptill, 3. Sinclair, 4. Taylor, 5. Hopkins, 6. Vettori, 7. McCullum, 8. Southee, 9. Patel, 10. Arnel, 11. Martin.

  • Gupta.Ankur on March 23, 2010, 4:34 GMT

    Go and look for batsman or do what england does import some outsiders and pick them when they are eligible.

    Also please be brave enough to tour outside australia...........

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Gupta.Ankur on March 23, 2010, 4:34 GMT

    Go and look for batsman or do what england does import some outsiders and pick them when they are eligible.

    Also please be brave enough to tour outside australia...........

  • on March 23, 2010, 5:23 GMT

    What's it going to take to pick Sinclair? The line up should be, 1. McIntosh, 2. Guptill, 3. Sinclair, 4. Taylor, 5. Hopkins, 6. Vettori, 7. McCullum, 8. Southee, 9. Patel, 10. Arnel, 11. Martin.

  • youfoundme on March 23, 2010, 6:09 GMT

    It's not actually our batting that's the problem, I think when you look at the first innings it was just great bowling from the Aussie pace attack, no one really stood up to the challenge. But the 2nd innings was different as the score care showed, a well built performance that started from the top order in McIntosh and was kept alive by Vettori and McCullum. Not everyone needs to fire in a Test match, just a solid performance from a few individuals with some good partnerships on the way. Our bowling attack on the other hand lacks the penetration, the ability to take wickets. It wouldn't hurt bringing in some new blood and getting rid of Martin for a change, which NZ come to rely on so much for some reason. Our best squad taking into account injuries and retirements would be - 1. McIntosh 2. Watling 3. Williamson 4. Taylor 5. Guptill 6. Vettori 7. McCullum 8. Franklin 9. Southee 10. Wagner (Not sure if he is eligible yet but definitely a future prospect) 11. Arnel

  • NikhilPapad3 on March 23, 2010, 6:45 GMT

    Im suprised Nz made it to the 5th day, thats quite an improvement, i though that they would have been rolled by day4. Good on them

  • malcs on March 23, 2010, 7:39 GMT

    Sinclair is a dead end street, and it seems clear Ingram is not up to the challenge. Martin is past it. Its tricky that Styris has opted out when he would walk into the team. I can't help feeling Hopkins could be worth a shot, he just scored a double hundred this week in domestic cricket - shows stickability and mental toughness. Let McCullum bat 6, Hopkins 7...

    I'm concerned about Watling too, you can't stay in and not perform indefinately. But all we have waiting in the wings are perenial underperformers like Daniel Flynn and Peter Fulton. Still I think its too soon for Williamson, he's a real talent, and I think they should do everything they can to make sure he's ready, and doesn't get burned too early. No matter what shuffling you do, we're a decent opener, number 3 batsmen and strike bowler short of a competitive team. Perhaps we ask Rigger, Andrew Jones and Danny Morrison to stage comebacks...

  • onlinegamer55 on March 23, 2010, 8:41 GMT

    The "Kane Williamson question" is obviously going to be raised at this point. Should New Zealand go with a 19 year-old batsmen with a first class average of 48.34 (31 innings, 4 centuries, 6 fifities, highest score of 192) and a list A average of 57 (24 innings, 3 centuries, 5 fifties, highest score of 108*, strike rate of 77.08)? Apart from Matthew Sinclair, Jessy Ryder, Ross Taylor and Peter Fulton (who was an absolute flunk when given a test call-up), hardly any domestic batsmen in the country average over 40. In fact, the top 3 New Zealand batsmen, McIntosh, Ingram and Watling, all average approximately 30 in first class. Does that really constitute a world-class batsmen? An average 30 batsmen wouldn't even get selected in the Australian domestic arena let alone the international one. When your average gets into the 20-30 region, you are really starting to humiliate yourself. The point is that unless they wish to give Sinclair another go, only Williamson can save them from defeat.

  • keeping-it-real06 on March 23, 2010, 8:56 GMT

    They should bring in Hopkins and leave Watling just take out Ingram. Put Hokins at 5 and just move everyone else up 1. They need a strike bowler too. Need someone who can get wickets and be able to break partnerships like Bond did. Going to be hard to replace Bond but it needs to happen if we want to have any chance of being able to beat quality test teams.

  • cook on March 23, 2010, 9:10 GMT

    New Zealand really need another Martin Crowe or a good batsmen like that in their side. As soon as one batsmen lifts, the whole team lifts. It's difficult to know what team to put in to compete against Australia. New Zealand has lots of bits and peices players, hopefully their team will come good soon.

  • on March 23, 2010, 9:18 GMT

    Sinclair perhaps has a technique to do a job Ingram certainly hasnt ! Hopkins has the mettle to hold up the Aussies. Test cricket is a different game ! Watch the way McCullum gets behind the ball instead of him usually playing beside it in 20 and 50 over forms, maybe Baz can play as a batsman and let Hopkins keep ! Greatbach will teach theese others (taylor and co) to dig in ! The Kiwis lack penetration with thier bowling thats hard to solve ? As for the stangoes on the other articles that think Hussey needs to go you have have rocks in your head! does it hurt ?

  • Flemy on March 23, 2010, 9:56 GMT

    They must bring back Vincent as he is one of there opners who got hundreds even against ausies he got one, drop Ingram and also bring jeetan patel.