New Zealand v Australia, 2nd Test, Hamilton April 1, 2010

Ponting tells New Zealand how to improve


Disappointing though the 2-0 result was for New Zealand, it wasn't a shock. They have not beaten Australia in a Test for 17 years and with a developing side, the chances of that changing on this tour were slim. The Trans-Tasman Trophy remains in Australian hands, as it has since 1987, and although there is no easy way for New Zealand to change that, Ricky Ponting had one idea when asked how his opponents could improve.

"Ask Bond to come back and play," Ponting said of the strike weapon who retired from Tests in December. "That would be a good start. They lack some pace I guess. We're lucky at the moment. We've got three guys who can all touch that high 140s barrier and Mitch Johnson is over that. Most teams around the world have at least one of those guys who can do that.

"They're generally the guys you go back to when you need to strike. With New Zealand probably a lot of that striking comes back to Dan [Vettori]. Dan has to be the guy to put his hand up to do a lot of that strike-bowling as well as try to keep it pretty tight."

There's no denying that New Zealand had bowling problems over the past fortnight. But as much as they might wish Shane Bond was sporting a black cap instead of the gold and purple of Kolkata Knight Riders, or that Iain O'Brien was at home and still playing instead of living in England as a county professional at Middlesex, the reality is they have limited resources with which to work.

Only once in the two Tests did they dismiss Australia, and the three leading wicket takers for the series were Ponting's fast men. Of New Zealand's seamers, Chris Martin and Daryl Tuffey grabbed one victim between them, Brent Arnel made a promising start without turning matches, and Tim Southee's six wickets in Hamilton was the most encouraging performance.

"Southee has the potential to turn into that sort of [strike] bowler," Ponting said. "He's a good new-ball bowler. He swings the ball. The more they stick with him the better he'll become. They are always competitive in the shorter forms of the game, I think Dan made mention coming into this game that he feels they are a bit stretched in Test match cricket against the better teams."

Their lack of wickets meant it was all the more important for the batsmen to step up and apart from a second-innings century from Brendon McCullum in Hamilton and Ross Taylor's record fast hundred in Hamilton, there wasn't much to cheer on that front. As with the bowling, the three top performers with the bat in the series were Australians, and the frustration for the hosts was players not capitalising on their starts.

No doubt that was linked to the quality of bowling from Johnson, Doug Bollinger and Ryan Harris. However, Vettori was disappointed with a lack of steel from the batting department, particularly in comparison to their opposition.

"We've seen examples of how Australia have done it with Katich and Hussey and on to Clarke and North," Vettori said. "They've just taken responsibility to get the job done and we didn't do that as often as we need to against Australia. As a Test match unit we've still got a lot to improve on."

For Australia, the series win meant a 7-0 result from eight Tests this summer and there were positive signs including the return to form of Marcus North, who averaged 105 in the two games. Harris' development was also impressive after he began the season injured and not in contention to play Test cricket, while Phillip Hughes' blazing 86 in Wellington was another plus.

"With Harris yes [we've learnt something], with Hughes, we've probably always known what he's got," Ponting said. "Having guys like Steve Smith and Clint McKay around the group for this tour, they would have learnt a lot as well. When you think we have Ben Hilfenhaus and Peter Siddle and those guys out on the sidelines, we have got great depth at the moment."

New Zealand would love to be in that situation. Until they find that depth, it's hard to see Trans-Tasman Trophy battles becoming much more evenly contested.

Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Josh on April 4, 2010, 4:42 GMT

    no1 cares indians! go talk about ur little ipl cricket game in the indian section, seriously your wasting your time leaving comments here as no1 listens to what u have to say

  • Mohsin on April 3, 2010, 22:45 GMT

    talking from india's perspective, i appreciate that dhoni's revolution in the team, and focus more on youth is outstanding. his leadership abillity is examplery. definitely team would survive and perform even without sachin, but plz make no mistake and plz dnt forget that sachin dont have a hand in bringing india to rank #1. His sublime form definitely is a boost to the team. he scores for the team, and help others score. truly one of the gr8est sportsmen of my generation. But, india still have to achieve what aussies did. not without a reason for over a decade, every cricket lover called aussies "almost invincible". the day cricket lovers start saying that about india, I'd accept that yes, india also equalled the task. the fight for rank 1 is nothing, its about the quality of entertainment they provide to us cricket fans. waiting for australia vs india test matches. pure pure pure entertainment. cricket at its best. no offense meant, none taken

  • Mohsin on April 3, 2010, 22:33 GMT

    see, gentlemen, with all due respect to aussies as well as indians in this argument. Iam a pakistani, and Iam speaking rationally. From where I see, aussies are NOT hyped up. they have held the top crown for a really long period of time. India is performing very well, rank 1 speaks volumes. BUT, having said that, we need to see if india can hold it there and be the kings like aussies did. Still, we need to appreciate the fact that australia's domestic cricket circuit is one of the best in the world. Their bench strength is still one of the best. Someone wrote in comments "hyped up" for aussies, plz try to appreciate the enormous amount of entertaiment aussies have provided to the cricket world over the past so many years. The feel of control and power about them is truly admirable.

  • Krishnadeep on April 3, 2010, 13:23 GMT

    @ Bollo Like it or not, the fact remains that draw is not a loss and you are gonna have more draws when teams face identical conditions "Home" or "Away". A decade for me is a good measure and in this decade India has better W/L in India against Aussies as compared to Australia in Australia against India. I would reiterate that subcontinent matches are played on identical tracks, so no team has the "Home Advantage". Further, lets not forget the RANK 1

  • giovaughn on April 3, 2010, 12:43 GMT

    BOB Bradley u sure u want some1 to test your batsmen more than how Kemar did Ponting @ Perth ? U guys are so full of it its not funny. im sure West Indies gave Aussies more of a challenge than Pakistan & New Zealand put together & that was without Jerome Taylor & Fidel Edwards & with Senior players carrying injuries & various personal issues we almost beat u guys 2-1 i rate Australia but they r not all they r hyped up 2 be U guys almost lost at least 4 of the 8 test matches u played this summer West Indies Pakistan & New Zealand just lack the ability to finish teams off once they get the upper hand

    if they do get that talent they may become 2 much for the mighty Aussies 2 handle

  • giovaughn on April 3, 2010, 10:28 GMT

    Satyam Ballyram apparently u are either biased or not reasoning properly when was the last time New Zealand or Pakistan, Sri Lanka or even England gave Australia as much of a fight in a test series in Australia as West Indies just did? And dont 4get our 2 best fast bowlers Jerome Taylor who got the cricinfo test bowling performance of the year award for 2009 and Fidel Edwards were injured. Kemar Roach had only played 2 tests against bangladesh. only Gayle Bravo Chanderpaul Sarwan and Ramdin had played test cricket in Australia b4 Sarwan & Chanderpaul had injuries Gayle was under tremendous amount of stress & pressure ppl were saying he should not have even been in the team much more captaining the side his mother was in the hospital with a serious heart condition & we almost beat Australia 2-1 in there own backyard so stop & think b4 u make erroneous comments. ok

  • Dummy4 on April 3, 2010, 10:13 GMT

    Many Pretenders say that what will happen to India after Sachin. Well.. nothing much... India started rising the early 00's when Sachin was going down with his form and with the arrival of Sehwag, Zaheer and Yuvraj and under aggressive captainship of Ganguly. Then the subsequent arrival of Revolutionary Dhoni who changed the way India played cricket.. running between the wiks, better fielding and also had the guts to not include big name players like Ganguly, Dravid, laxman, Kumble who were slow on the field and btw the wiks. Dhoni transformed the young team without any big names (odis) from 07 and (tests) from 08 to be among the top two and now tests no.1.

    @Meety and other guys if you feel that Indian fans are insecure with thier negative comments on Ponting then why care to respond and bother....because they are facts and facts make YOU insecure.

  • Josh on April 3, 2010, 9:12 GMT

    y are there indians here talking about indian cricket? no1 cares!

  • Dave on April 3, 2010, 7:40 GMT

    @kdcricket. Last 30 series for both countries actually only goes back to 1993. I don`t really buy your reasoning behind the amount of draws in India, and question your use of % losses as an acceptable measure of home dominance. Cricinfo uses W/L ratios for these stats, and they are as follows for home tests from 1 Jan 1993. India P78, W38, L14, D26 W/L 2.71. Australia P102, W72, L13, D17 W/L 5.53. ie. in that time Australia have won 5 and a half tests for every one they`ve lost, India have won 2 and a half. Hardly supports your statement `The fact remains that beating India in India remains tougher than beating Australia in Australia` .

  • Krishnadeep on April 3, 2010, 5:36 GMT

    @Bollo, Comparing match on match over the three decades mentioned by you(although 3 decades is a long time as India became truly professional(i.e funding to cricket and other such administrative issues post 1983 WC victory, in comparison Aussies have been playing cricket since the 19th century) The wickets in India, Pak n SL are similar and hence number of draws would obviously be high in series' involving these teams(pitches due to soil n weather being similar, are indeed similar). So if I calculate loss % for these three decades, for Australia in Australia it stands at 16.6% and for India in India it is 18.5%(source :cricinfo data), not too big a difference considering also the fact that India has played less number of tests and hence % variation per win or loss will be higher from now on(Aus had played 169 tests and India 119 test, lets see by the time India reaches 169 tests how things unravel). Drawn series' are also contributed more by matches between subcontinent teams.

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