New Zealand v Australia, 2nd Test, Hamilton, 4th day

Greatbatch wants tougher approach from batsmen

Brydon Coverdale in Hamilton

March 30, 2010

Comments: 14 | Text size: A | A

Ross Taylor walks off after edging Mitchell Johnson, New Zealand v Australia, 2nd Test, Hamilton, 4th day, March 30, 2010
The loss of Ross Taylor was a big blow for New Zealand and upset their chances of saving the game © Getty Images
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Five batsmen out from 19 to 29. Mark Greatbatch put on a restrained, if slightly grumpy public face after New Zealand's latest batting woes but behind closed doors it must have been the roaring twenties. Or more accurately, the roared-at twenties. On a day when all New Zealand wanted was to reach stumps with plenty of wickets in hand, 185 for 5 was not good enough.

If there was one saving grace for the hosts it was that in general the batsmen didn't throw their wickets away. They were the victims of some excellent bowling from Mitchell Johnson and his colleagues. But just as Simon Katich played tough and ugly the previous day, the New Zealanders had to find a way to survive the challenge.

"Obviously we're being outplayed by a better side," Greatbatch said. "We've stayed with them for two and a half days and all of a sudden they've put the gas on and we haven't been able to stay with them. We've got things to work on technically and mentally as well. We got good starts on a good surface and you'd expect two or three of those guys to push on and be not out tonight.

"You can't take away from Johnson's spell. He's a world-class bowler and he went up a few notches. He was hard to play but in Test cricket you've got to do that. Those are the key moments you've got to get through and we haven't been able to get through, to this stage."

BJ Watling and Ross Taylor edged behind when Johnson angled across them, Tim McIntosh was pushed back and watched his stumps rattled and Mathew Sinclair couldn't quite get his bat in line with a Michael Clarke arm ball. The only case of a batsman trying to be over-aggressive was Daniel Vettori's attempted sweep to a ball that was too full and which trapped him lbw.

By the close of play, New Zealand were relying on Brendon McCullum and Martin Guptill to hold Australia off for as long as possible, with an extensive tail to come. However, Greatbatch said there were a few positives to come from the day, all of which were tempered by the overall failure of his men to capitalise on their starts.

"Martin Guptill played a mature innings, he's been circumspect in this series but he's learning his game and learning the hard way out in the middle," Greatbatch said. "[Sinclair] fought hard and got through the Johnson spell and faced quite a few balls from him. But there's five or six guys who have got starts and got out. We've got to be tougher and hungrier than that."

Little can be done now to salvage the game and much relies on Guptill and McCullum, who built a 33-run partnership late in the day. If they can reach the thirties, it's a start.

Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo

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Posted by y2jabroni on (March 31, 2010, 0:05 GMT)

Whatever happened to Grant Elliot being in the test team? I mean, the top order of New Zealand is either finding its way or just plain mediocre, while they also have an elongated tail end. I just don't find it comical when Chris Martin comes out to bat now after not really bowling all that well, and I think the team could be benefitted by replacing him with a guy like Elliot who is an allrounder.

I agree with Octa : Matthew Sinclair has improved. I just wonder which players in the top order are going to get the chop over the offseason - I don't think they'll drop Watling, but someone will obviously go when Jesse Ryder comes back.

I think Tim Southee is going to be our next Chris Cairns - he's looking promising with the bat and ball, maybe he'll be a middle order player in a season or two? (I hope so)

Posted by   on (March 30, 2010, 23:24 GMT)

I agree that NZ do not have the talent required to win against AUS, in both our bowling and batting. We dont have the depth to cover injuries and retirements. Imagine if Bond, Mills, O'Brien had been our bowling attack, we would stand a much better chance. I know its just a dream, but ideally the NZ team would be 1. McIntosh 2. Watling 3. Williamson 4. Taylor 5. Ryder 6. Guptill 7. McCullum 8. Vettori 9. Mills 10. Bond 11. O'Brien. Now those 11 players I believe would be able to compete. A question mark over the opening pair, but the rest are solid, if the openers can take the shine off the new ball. p.s - i think NZ will compete very strongly in the World T20 Cup

Posted by bringbackleegermon on (March 30, 2010, 22:10 GMT)

The problem in NZ is attitude. It is true that we don't have players the calibre of Tendulkar or Lara, but anyone will tell you cricket is a mental game.

Australia was always going to be a problem for us not because they are the best in the world but because NZ has an inferiority complex in its cricket. In this country it's almost excusable to lose to Aus because they are the best. Unfortunately, this attitude goes right up to the top. There were herald articles last week saying we just want to make it to 5 days. You wouldn't read this nonsense anywhere else in the world.

It would be nice for a coach or NZ player come out and say we don't want to lose to Aus anymore, we don't want to just play for an IPL contract, we want to be the best cricket team in the world. This will motivate the players across all levels, and all of a sudden we'll find our players have a lot more class than the rest of the world thinks.

It's like the old saying goes, fake it till you make it.

Posted by Dickson09 on (March 30, 2010, 22:04 GMT)

@ Popcorn, if NZ did the haka before a cricket game I'd stop watching instantly. That is a ridiculous suggestion, there are almost never any Maori playing cricket so it's culturally inappropriate to do so.

New Zealand simply don't have their ideal team playing right now. Jesse Ryder is only just playing cricket again for Wellington, he blasted a century which is a good sign. I thought Kyle Mills was supposed to be ready by now? What happened with him? And we'd have been better off with Grant Elliot as opposed to Sinclair, but he's injured. We should have brought on Williamson for Patel to strengthen the batting, as Patel hasn't performed in a long time with the ball anyway, and got rid of Martin, as he's getting on in the years and is no longer effective as a bowler, which is the only thing he was reliable for. Anyone along the lines of Franklin, Hopkins, or even Chris Harris would have been a better choice in place of Martin.

Posted by   on (March 30, 2010, 14:50 GMT)

It's no good saying we have to be tougher because NZ just doesn't have the talent or capability to compete with Australia in tests, right now full stop. I think because of the talent pool in Oz there should be a tiered test framework with lower ranked teams playing higher ranked teams less often and vice versa. Otherwise we will have the same old story time and time again!

Posted by KGL154 on (March 30, 2010, 14:47 GMT)

The problem is NZ don't play enough test cricket..........too many of our batsmen are used to ODI games and don't have the capacity to knuckle down (with the exception of McIntosh) and bat time. We need to play more test cricket against better teams both home and away so we're reliant on other countries to grant us 3-test series.

Posted by Octa on (March 30, 2010, 13:21 GMT)

I was quite pleased with Mathew Sinclairs efforts in this test match, he seemed the only batter to have some resolve against Johnson albeit he lost his first wicket to a brilliant ball. I thought he showed good resolve and the kind of fight all our top 5 need to show.

I think that Vettori has been shown up in this match for not being a number 6 against quality and also not being a quality threat when teams dont have to chase his bowling. We need more runs to bowl at!

Patel and Martin were a complete waste in this match and we would have been better picking Williamson to bat 7 behind McCullum at 6 and choose Franklin over Martin who has shown this season a lack of pace and swing.

My new team is 1. BJ Watling 2. McIntosh 3. Sinclair 4. Taylor 5. Guptil 6. Ryder 7.McCullum 8.Vettori 9. Franklin 10. Southee 11. Arnell (i would replace Franklin with Tuffey/McKay/Patel) and seriously consider MD Bates from Auckland as a left arm option. Williamson to step in for any underperformer

Posted by popcorn on (March 30, 2010, 12:38 GMT)

Australia are the best Team in the world - whatever the rankings may say - with bat, ball, fielding, especially when the chips are down, and they resurrect themselves - like they did here against NZ here, and against Pak at the SCG. New Zealand should stick to rugby, or sing the Haka song before they start a cricket game too.

Posted by hickmon on (March 30, 2010, 12:24 GMT)

Even though we're not in any kind of good place now with our test side, at least all the ideas are right these days. Gives a supporter like me hope that they will improve, and we are little bit by little bit. Hopefully within a few of years we'll be a pretty decent test side capable of beating sides like this rather than just testing them for a day or two

Posted by zn264 on (March 30, 2010, 11:57 GMT)

Great to see picking Sinclair worked out well for us, what a come back. Must be one of his highest scores against Australia, well done. For the rest of the NZ batsmen, hang your head in shame. After all that work in the field, what a waste, at times we were playing some good competitive cricket. At least living in the UK I can watch us be bowled out tonight and get a good nights sleep knowing the NZ selectors are doing a great job.

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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