West Indies v New Zealand, 2nd Test, Jamaica, 4th day August 5, 2012

New Zealand rue lack of hundreds

ESPNcricinfo staff

Ross Taylor, the New Zealand captain, has said his team's batsmen must break their habit of failing to turn fifties into centuries after another disappointing series with the bat. New Zealand lost the series 2-0 after West Indies earned a five-wicket victory in Jamaica and the result means the teams swap positions on the ICC Test rankings table, with West Indies moving to seventh and New Zealand falling to eighth.

A major part of the problem for New Zealand was an absence of big scores from their batsmen. The opener Martin Guptill was the leading scorer from either side across the two Tests with 277 runs but no New Zealander managed a century, while Chris Gayle, Kieran Powell and Marlon Samuels all reached triple figures for West Indies.

"It's been around for a while," Taylor said of the lack of centuries. "If you go through the last 15-odd years, guys have been scoring a lot of fifties but they haven't been going on to score those hundreds and hundreds are what get you in Test matches and put you on the front foot and hopefully win them. But when you're only getting fifties, sometimes it might be enough but more often than not it won't be."

Taylor's observation was sound, for in the past 15 years New Zealand batsmen have made 84 Test centuries, easily the fewest among the eight countries that played Test cricket throughout that period. The next lowest was West Indies, whose batsmen made 121 tons during the same time.

In the past decade the figures are just as stark for New Zealand, whose batsmen have made fewer hundreds than Jacques Kallis and Rahul Dravid combined. Taylor said New Zealand's inability to put together big partnerships and fight through important moments in the two Tests proved costly against West Indies, and they would need to improve ahead of their tour of India.

"Obviously us batters are not performing as consistently as we would like and the bowlers were bowling well in periods but not the whole time," he said. "Losing crucial wickets at crucial times in both Test matches have hurt us ... We need to address our issues very quickly and we've got India coming up in just over a week and a half's time, so we need to regroup quickly and play a lot better than we have here."

However, Taylor said there were some positives to come from the series, despite the result.

"Martin Guptill was the highest run scorer in the Test series, between both teams," Taylor said. "He didn't get a hundred but his lowest score was 41. He struggled a bit during the T20s and one-dayers but showed what a quality player he can be and runs at the top of the order has been something we haven't done as consistently as we would like. He was consistent.

"The bowlers, [Trent] Boult with the new ball was very promising and something to work on. [Neil] Wagner, I think has given us something to think about, the energy that he brings to the team."

New Zealand have little time to regroup ahead of the India series, which begins with a Test in Hyderabad on August 23.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on August 6, 2012, 20:19 GMT

    @Mike Patrick:Yeah, Wagner was disappointing. He is a bowler with so much hype for so many years. But was there much impact from him?? Thing is, I don't mind him being a medium-fast bowler. What frightens me is his wobbly seam position that Ian Bishop rightly pointed out. He is not gonna get anything from any pitch with this kind of seam presentation. He was the eldest bowler in the attack, but his youngers Boult, Southee and Dougie all were presenting the seam better than he did.

  • Abhishek on August 6, 2012, 14:35 GMT

    This kiwi side is not as bad as it is being made out to be.I really think they have got some realy good bowlers(Boult,Wagner,Bracewell,Southee,Milne) but they face problems not unlike australia...wherein they lack some good up and coming batsman!!The ones they have are just decent(not a single great among them).But there is absolutely no reason for this team not to give a fight to other big teams..afterall the kiwis have always been known to punch above there weight!But the batsman need to show some grit and determination!! Coming on to the opening..Baz should undoubtedly shoulder that responsibility! PS:I seriously think John Buchanan is the worst thing to have happened to New-Zealand cricket.I just hope good sense prevails and he is fired soon!

  • Nick on August 6, 2012, 9:34 GMT

    You really have to go to the beginning of NZ's cricket history to find a more dismal team than our current players. It's cruelly ironic that they are NZ's highest cricket players in history, yet their bank balance can't doesn't help putting the batting totals up. Although Wager did look effective with the ball, it was certainly disapointing to discover he bowled mainly in the mid 130's when we were lead to believe he would be in the low 140's. The bowling lacked strike bowling that Gillespie would've added if he wasn't injured. It's time for NZ management to give Adam Milne a try; he may only be 20, but we don't have anyone else bowling even close to his pace.

  • Matt on August 6, 2012, 7:59 GMT

    With performances like this recent series in WI, New Zealand are in danger of becoming the laughing stock in International cricket. Continued below standard performances against top teams from our so call top players is a real worried. They continue to 'talk it up' prior to games and yet can never back it up. Our Bowling is OK, but its the batting where we struggle, inexperience is longer an excuse for most of the batsmen, they regularly get out with poor shots and cant bat long periods, BMac doesn't have the temperament to bat at No.3, if he's not going to w/keep, he need to bat at 5/6. Most of the blame for the poor 2nd innings batting display should point squarely at Taylor. As a captain he needs to lead by example, his dismissal was a shocker, when you should be trying to build a lead. I feel sorry for John Wright, the team have let him down considerably over the last few years, by not learning from their collective mistakes.

  • Leon on August 6, 2012, 7:38 GMT

    I agree with Mike. If McCullum doesn't want the gloves he has to open, shoulder more of the responsibility. I think the bowling unit is actually better without Vettori. Yes he blocks up one end but for what gain? He's basically just giving throw downs to a new batter to get his eye in. We will never drop him but he needs some runs as much as anyone. Bottom line you must take 20 wickets. So I say play 5 bowlers and Watling over Van Wyk. Put even more pressure on a struggling batting unit, sometimes that can work wonders. Just one big innings can turn a match, look at ENG v SA just now. Only one guy from each side got a big score, the rest nothing and they both post 400+. Someone must stand up in India.

  • Beau on August 6, 2012, 6:59 GMT

    NZ need to stay the course in terms of batting. Progress is slow, but it IS there. I saw Mark Richardson advocating a "just bash it" approach the other day - Mark Richardson! What terrible advice. Since Guptill came back from County, he and Flynn have rediscovered something I had started to doubt ever existed: The Kiwi Opening Stand! Even BJ stuck around for a while in the 2nd Test (although Baz really should have opened). Now, if Baz & Ross can just stop trying to cut the ball when it's way too close to off, we could get over 400 now and then. Imagine! Bowlers looked good in the 2nd Test, especially Boult. If the batsmen had given them another 50-100, or batted out another session, it could have all been so different. Same with the first Test, actually. Ah, well... If everyone's fit, it'll be very interesting to see the sheet for the Indian Tests. Where does Watling fit when Flynn comes back, at keeper? Vettori? Nethula? And what of The Phantom and The Mole? Big calls to be made...

  • Dummy4 on August 6, 2012, 6:04 GMT

    Guptill and Boult were the only positives, and even they could have done better. I am a bit worried about Wagner, sure energy is good for a team, but he wasn't much quicker than anyone else and he only picked up 4 wickets over the series. He may improve but he certainly didn't match the hype surrounding him. And finally, open with Mccullum and bring Watling down the order! How is that not logical?

  • No featured comments at the moment.