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'Would've been easy to fall over' - McCullum

New Zealand's captain Brendon McCullum believes a fighting draw in Perth has provided his side a platform from which to beat Australia - not just in the third Test in Adelaide, but the return series across the Tasman next year.

As McCullum noted, many a team have squandered the comforts of a flat pitch when asked to reply to a mammoth total in the region of 550, made over two days of high temperatures. That New Zealand did not was a major tick for their resilience as cricketers, and a vindication of McCullum's view before the match that Brisbane's lopsided result did not reflect the gap in quality between the teams as much as it did his side's underdone state.

"It's satisfying when you fight your way back to come out with not just a draw but encouraging signs of the steel and resolve and backbone in this line-up," he said. "It would have been easy to fall over in the first innings, we've seen it time and time again but two leaders stood up in the group and played incredibly important innings.

"For a while they gave us the ability to believe we could pull off an against-the-odds Test win. We came over here with ambitions and expectations of winning a series but if we can't win, the next best thing is to draw so that's firmly on our minds. We head to Adelaide chasing a result and if we play better, tidying up certain areas, we'll give ourselves an opportunity."

New Zealand have shown a tendency to begin series slowly before improving as they go on, particularly on the road. McCullum said he was no closer to working out why this was so, but felt sure that Australian respect for his side had grown over the past four days.

"Still can't put finger on that," he said. "We're a pretty young side, sometimes there's so much anticipation and excitement in series that until you get your feet under the desk in the series that's when you start to feel completely comfortable, without inhibitions.

"Australia respect us as a cricket team and what we've achieved over a period. The margin in the first Test was reflective of that match but not the gulf between the teams. Perth has shown the teams are a lot closer. It's important for us to win respect for how we play and the skill and tenacity we have.

"We still want Ws in our column, or at least drawing series, but if we continue playing with as much resilience with the bat and periods [like today] with ball we will earn that respect."

McCullum's team dictated terms on the final day by offering nothing for Steven Smith and Adam Voges to latch onto and get themselves into a strong position to declare. Many will wonder how the match might have panned out had they bowled that precisely on the first morning.

"We started impeccably with the ball," he said. "When you bowl as well as we did this morning, I kept thinking if we'd bowled that well on day one how things could be different. We had hopes of winning, I wouldn't say they were high hopes, because it was always going to take something miraculous to come on top, but a draw is a fair result."

Now New Zealand turn towards preparing for the pink ball of Adelaide and the day/night Test. They are playing a warm-up match under lights this week against a Western Australia XI, also at the WACA Ground.

"Obviously there was hesitancy from both sides heading into the announcement of the pink ball, but now we're going to embrace the challenge," he said. "It's going to go ahead, a couple of days to prepare under lights. Hopefully it goes brilliantly in front of a big crowd, broadcast around the world. The reluctance going in has disappeared."

Finally, McCullum offered his view of Mitchell Johnson, who retired at game's end. "Every cricketer comes to a stage where enough is enough, it's important to focus on what an incredible difference he made to the game," he said. "Brett Lee's record is phenomenal but look at him [Johnson], he has gone better. He has taken a bit of criticism, so to withstand that and stay strong to his values and go out and take wickets is a testament to the bloke.

"A lot is made of how nasty he can be on the field. I've played against him a number of years and it's healthy competition. Ultimately he's a great bloke. From our point of view hopefully we were able to add a touch of class being able to give him that welcome to the crease. I wish him the best, but I'm pleased he's not playing in Adelaide."