Hesson banks on quick rebound after India tour

New Zealand are currently on a four-match losing streak in Tests © BCCI

Australia’s Test-match losing streak may be making headlines, but their neighbours across the Tasman have not fared much better this year. Of nine Tests played in 2016, New Zealand has lost six, winning only the two matches against Zimbabwe. Their four most-recent results have all been losses.

Unlike for Australia, however, the losing streak has come overseas, against formidable opposition: the first loss came against South Africa, and the next three in India, where many teams have suffered in the last three years.

Now back at home, with a grassy pitch before them and a long summer ahead, coach Mike Hesson has said his team will not dwell on the overseas failures. They will instead aim to fall back on memories of their unbeaten stretch at home between 2013 and 2015.

“I think we’ve won seven out of our 11 Tests at home in the last three years, with a couple of draws and a couple of losses,” Hesson said. “You do that because conditions are familiar to you, and you adapt quicker than other sides.

“We’ve been stressing the fact that we need to prepare for conditions that we’re more familiar with. We’ve got some experience to draw on over the last three or four years. It’s a matter of going through that rather than reliving India. Conditions over there were significantly different to what we’re going to face over here.”

New Zealand’s batsmen had had a particularly torrid tour of India, where no one managed a century across three Tests. Their main destroyers on that tour had been spinners R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, who shared 41 scalps between them. Hesson said his batsmen had rebounded mentally since that series, which ended a month ago.

“The conditions are here very different, so the skillset required is different. We acknowledge that we didn’t adapt as well as we needed to in India. Hence, we underachieved, especially with the bat. Here, I’m very confident the guys know the conditions.

‘We’ve got some experience to draw on over the last three or four years. It’s a matter of going through that rather than reliving India’ – Mike Hesson © Associated Press

“There was a period of having to deal with dented confidence, but that was some time ago. At the time we needed to dwell on some of the areas we hadn’t performed well in, and we’ve done that. Then we need to move on – that’s the nature of international cricket. When you perform and you win easily, you don’t dwell on that either. You move on.”

The top order will have to contend with the likes of Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz and Yasir Shah, as they battle for Test form. Pakistan’s attack had delivered two Test victories in England this year, and Hesson believes they are a particularly dynamic outfit.

“We’ll be challenged by this Pakistan attack, there’s no doubt about that,” he said. “They’ve got an attack that suits all conditions around the world. They swing the new ball, they reverse it, and they’ve got a very good spinner. They’ve also got experience in their batting line up. They’re tough in every condition, so they’re bowling attack is going to pose some challenges for us.”

The Hagley Oval surface has generally been seam-friendly over the first two days of the Test. Although it had a significant covering of grass two days from the Test, Hesson expected the pitch to settle quickly.

“The pitch has good pace and bounce, which stays throughout. And I think it turns into a pretty flat surface. It’s one of those surfaces where you are going to need to have resources to bowl a lot of overs, rather than think you’re going to bowl them out in a session and a half. I don’t think it’s going to be like that.”

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.


Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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