Black Caps looking to use momentum gained from 4-0 ODI series win.
A fired up New Zealand on Saturday turned their sights towards the upcoming two Tests against India, bursting with confidence after exceeding expectations by dominating the one-day series.
The first Test starts in Auckland next Thursday, with New Zealand already plotting to continue the barrage of short-pitched deliveries which the Indian batsmen struggled to contend with in the ODIs.
“Even in our wildest dreams we didn’t think we could win 4-0 against such a quality side,” coach Mike Hesson said.
“We know it’s a different format (Tests), and there’ll be a few new guys, but we’ll definitely take some confidence into the Tests.”
The gulf between the two sides on the world rankings table may be vast but New Zealand showed it mattered little as they wrapped up the one-day series with an emphatic 87-run victory in the final match in Wellington on Friday.
In the process India, whose best performance was to tie the third match, dropped from first to second in the rankings while New Zealand raised their standing from a modest eighth to seventh.
It is a similar margin at Test level where India are number two with New Zealand in eighth place, but Hesson said his players proved in the ODIs that was no barrier.
“It’s all very well having plans but you need quality players to execute them and we certainly saw that. It was as good as it gets really from a coach’s point of view,” he said.
“A number of different players stood up throughout the series at key times,” he added, singling out the imperious form of Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor who will reprise their roles at three and four in the Test batting line up.
Williamson became the fourth New Zealander to score a half-century in five consecutive ODIs, while Taylor produced back-to-back centuries for only the fourth time by a New Zealander in a one-day series.
New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum hailed his side’s ruthless streak with short-pitched bowling, built on the blueprint of bowling coach Shane Bond, and warned India there would be no let up in the Tests.
“It’s something that’s Shane’s pretty hot on,” McCullum said. “He’s keen to see our guys hostile and aggressive with ball in hand and it’s certainly a tactic we’ll look to employ in the Test series”
But India’s repeated failures trying to handle the sort-pitched delivery did not mean they would abandon the hook shot, according to captain Mahendara Singh Dhoni, who wants his batsmen to take a positive approach into the Tests.
“At times they (New Zealand) bowled really well but at the same time we have to back ourselves to play the shots, the kind of cricket, that we’re known for,” he said.
“You may lose a few games but it’s also important to see the kind of attitude you bring and try to play aggressive cricket.
“Even if you get out you get out. What’s important is to have a positive intent right from the start.”