New Zealand v Australia, 2nd Test, Hamilton, 4th day March 30, 2010

Greatbatch wants tougher approach from batsmen

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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