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It was just massive relief - Guptill

Martin Guptill, the New Zealand opener, has said the fight and heart his team showed on the fourth day of the Hobart Test will give them confidence for the future

Brydon Coverdale
Brydon Coverdale
New Zealand celebrate their first Test win in Australia in 26 years, Australia v New Zealand, 2nd Test, Hobart, 4th day, December 12 2011

New Zealand celebrate the fall of the final wicket and their first Test win in Australia for 26 years  •  AFP

A couple of hours after Doug Bracewell bowled Nathan Lyon to complete New Zealand's first Test victory in Australia since 1985, the New Zealand players wandered out of the Bellerive Oval dressing rooms and made their way to the pitch. The captain Ross Taylor was carrying an esky, or to use the New Zealand term, a chilly-bin, full of drinks.
Several black caps were askew on heads. Some men were still in their whites, others had changed into the black training gear. A few were barefoot; Jesse Ryder settled for socks without shoes. They huddled together and let out a chant that was as boisterous as it was unintelligible. Drinks were sprayed, photos were taken, and they all took a few moments to let their historic achievement sink in.
"It was a big night," the batsman Martin Guptill told ESPNcricinfo on Tuesday. "It's 26 years since we've beaten Australia over here so we have cause to celebrate. It's definitely the highlight of my career so far. It'll be in the memory banks for a long time."
By Tuesday afternoon, when the Test would have still been going had it lasted five days, the players based on the South Island had already flown out of Hobart. The Northern Island men were remaining for an extra night. They were still getting their heads around what they had accomplished.
One of the men who stayed on was Daniel Vettori, who was a late withdrawal from the match due to a hamstring injury. When the final wicket fell, Vettori was standing in the doorway of the change rooms clapping and cheering, but he didn't run out on the field for fear of exacerbating his injury.
"He hasn't won a Test against Australia," Guptill said of Vettori. "It was mixed emotions for him that he wasn't playing, but for him to be there when we took that final wicket was fantastic. He was ecstatic and enjoyed the celebrations as well."
It almost wasn't so. Australia's No.11, Lyon, joined David Warner at the crease with 42 runs required for a home victory. A couple of lbw reviews went against New Zealand and the target edged closer and closer. When it reached single figures, there were plenty of nerves among the New Zealand players.
"That was one of the most intense feelings you could ever have," Guptill said. "When Dougie bowled Nathan Lyon for that last wicket it was just massive relief. You saw the way we were jumping around in the middle that we really wanted it and we worked hard to get it. I think we deserved it.
"It was a little bit [nerve-wracking] but we backed our bowlers to take the wickets. Dougie and Timmy [Southee] bowled fantastic spells and really put pressure on. We were lucky enough to keep Dave Warner off strike for long enough periods to take that last wicket.
"Dougie bowled unbelievably well. For a young lad to do that in his third Test, and against Australia, is pretty remarkable. Everyone is very proud of him and he'll certainly have a long career for New Zealand ahead of him."
Bracewell finished the match with 9 for 60, the best Test figures by a New Zealand player in five years, but he needed help from the fielders. After New Zealand put down four catches in the Gabba Test, it was clear that batting and fielding were the two areas they needed to improve in to challenge Australia in Hobart.
They didn't put down any genuine chances at Bellerive Oval. Guptill snared four catches in the match, including Phillip Hughes at second slip in both innings, taking to four from four the amount of dismissals that read Hughes, caught Guptill bowled Martin in the series.
"He loves bowling to left-handers and gets that swing away," Guptill said of Martin. "You know you're always in the game in the slips with him bowling to left-handers. Myself, Ross, Jesse and Reece [Young] behind the wicket were always in the game when Hughes was on strike."
The win, New Zealand's first in Australia in 26 years and first against Australia since 1993, cannot help but fill Taylor's side with confidence. The players return home to Twenty20 cricket, with the HRV Cup scheduled over the next few weeks, but when they face Zimbabwe and South Africa in Tests later in the summer, they will draw on their Hobart success as inspiration.
"The guys showed a lot of fight and a lot of heart yesterday," Guptill said. "If we can take that into each Test match that we play then we're going to get better as a side and we're going to get the results that we want."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo