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August 5, 2012
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.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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