A demoralised Michael Hussey has admitted it will take him a while to recover from his Chappell-Hadlee Trophy experience. Hussey, the stand-in captain, was expected to guide the side easily as Ricky Ponting and Adam Gilchrist were rested, but his short-term role quickly became a nightmare as the team lost the first game by ten wickets and conceded two of the three biggest chases in history.
Hussey, who is yet to win a game from his four ODIs in charge, was let down by the failure of his bowlers to maintain their lines and lengths as they were attacked by the aggressive New Zealand batsmen. In the second match at Eden Park they could not defend 336 and in Hamilton on Tuesday they were over-run despite scoring 5 for 346, which was set up by Matthew Hayden's 181.
"Under pressure we just couldn't nail our yorkers or put the ball where we wanted it to go," Hussey said in The Australian. "It's disappointing but it shows us that we still have some work to do to before the World Cup."
The loss was Australia's fifth in a row - the streak began in the first match of the CB Series finals against England - and the squad also suffered with injuries to Brett Lee (ankle), Michael Clarke (hip) and Matthew Hayden (broken toe). However, Glenn McGrath, who did not play in the final match, said after landing in Sydney that Australia could recover in time for the World Cup.
"Very much so," McGrath told AAP at Sydney airport. "It wasn't the best tour for us over there in New Zealand, but we would rather get that out of the way now a few weeks before the first [World Cup] game so we can work out what we need to do differently and turn it around.
"We've experienced quite a few injuries, five or six of our top players weren't there, so it's a bit of a different mix of players and it sometimes takes a little while to get settled. If you take one or two players out of any other team in the world it would unsettle them, but to take five or six out would really destroy them."
After the match Hussey said he was confident of reversing Australia's poor form. "I know we've been planning for the World Cup for a long time but hopefully we can turn it around," Hussey said. "Work hard in the early stages of the World Cup and get our confidence up and I think we'll be fine."
However, the series will be hard to forget for Hussey, despite scores of 42, 105 and 13. "It's pretty difficult and I feel pretty demoralised really," he said. "I'll probably take a little while to get over it."