New Zealand’s versatility, consistency and discipline have made them “very smart” on surfaces that haven’t allowed them to play with their typical flair and aggression, according to coach Mike Hesson. On a slow pitch in Dunedin, New Zealand’s batsmen scratched their way through the middle overs and finished with 257, but bowled Pakistan out for 74 to claim the series with a 183-run win.
“We were very smart on surfaces that perhaps haven’t allowed us to play how we’ve wanted to play,” Hesson said. “We often want to play with a bit of flair and be aggressive with everything we do with the bat and sometimes conditions don’t allow that. We’re improving and I think we’re playing some smart cricket, particularly on a variety of surfaces, so that’s very pleasing.
“I think perhaps in the past we might have just kept going and reflected on it at the end of the day. But especially in the game the other day, I thought Kane [Williamson] and Martin [Guptill] were exceptional in how they assessed the conditions.”
Trent Boult and Tim Southee broke the third ODI open with a terrific spell of swing bowling, leaving Pakistan at 9 for 3 after 10 overs. Hesson said that was the best first 10-overs period he has ever seen.
“Last game was pretty close to perfect on a tricky surface. I think the first 10 overs, that’s the best I’ve ever seen. In terms of when you have to bowl into the wind, Tim’s five overs into a howling gale, he never missed the strings, kept hitting the top of the bat, he was exceptional and obviously Trent was relentless from the other end.”
New Zealand have now won 10 straight games across formats. How good are they currently? “That’s up for others to judge,” Hesson said. “In the last five years, every side has travelled here. And our record at home is pretty good. We’re very clear how we operate pre-game, one of the keys is we’re very consistent about how we operate, whether we’ve come off a win or a string of losses.
“We don’t get too overawed, if we lose a few games, and if we’re on a roll, we don’t drop our guard. We’re relatively new in terms of the kind of roles we’ve given our players. Colin [Munro] is very new at the top of the order, Tom [Latham] and Henry [Nicholls] are very new to that middle-order role. From a bowling point of view, Lockie [Ferguson] is new, we’re playing two spinners, we’re trying a few things this summer and it helps that we’re developing some depth.”