Simon Doull: First test was one that got away

SIMON DOULL
Last updated 05:00 08/12/2013
Brendon McCullum
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IRRESPONSIBLE: Black Caps captain Brendon McCullum didn’t show leadership qualities in the second innings of the first drawn test against the West Indies.

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OPINION: New Zealand created enough chances to win the first test in Dunedin and they will be feeling sick for not taking them.

The shame of this test match is everyone will talk about how we couldn't get there. We were in a supremely dominant position. It was a terrific effort in the first innings to get to where we did.

Ross Taylor's innings was a standout. His tempo and concentration throughout were magnificent. His partnership with Brendon McCullum set up what should have been a rare test-match win. It was as good as I've ever seen Ross play.

First time around we bowled beautifully. We put the ball in the right areas. It was full enough and we swung it.

A lot can be said about whether the follow-on should have been enforced. If the bowlers have 40 overs of rest they're always going to be better off, but the Black Caps felt they were well and truly on top.

If Taylor's innings was brilliant, then Darren Bravo's was equally special to thwart the New Zealand attack for nine hours.

We didn't do a huge amount wrong with the ball. It was tough and it was flat. Once you've spent a day and a half in the field your legs are weary but they probably expected more from Neil Wagner. I thought his pace was down.

Wagner's blown caught-and-bowled and McCullum's dropped catch, these were situations we didn't get right. The boys will be feeling pretty sick about it as they move forward.

In our second innings, there were also some irresponsible shots. That's all you can say. Hamish Rutherford and McCullum in particular. They will have to take a long, hard look at the shots they played after a very good first innings effort.

Rutherford was out in exactly the same fashion. That dismissal to the off-spinner is happening too often.

McCullum was equally disappointing. He was looking for something that wasn't there. He needed to hang around a little longer. If he put on 20 with Taylor, one of them could have said "we need to try and finish this in a hurry".

His team desperately needed him to show leadership and he didn't deliver.

The Black Caps needed McCullum to step up. That's what the captain needs to do. There will be more questions asked about the responsibility of that shot. It's easy to say "that's how I play". But in that situation he should have played differently. It's not the sort of example we needed.

You want the team to follow and respect everything you do. At times we're going to have to accept that's McCullum's way. But you also have to realise what the situation requires.

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The University Oval pitch was not what you wanted, either.

They left as much grass on as possible and it still flattened out to be a very docile batting wicket. They took test matches away from Napier because it was too flat. We're not far away from that here. Something needs to be done differently. Having said that, if it hadn't rained we may have had a result in the last session on the last day.

There's food for thought going to Wellington. We don't want to make the same mistake we made in March this year, when we spent all those overs in the field in Dunedin and got to Wellington and the bowlers were tired.

Doug Bracewell has to come in. They need to get some fresh legs in. These guys are going to be tired. Three days recovery, it's going to be tough. There's got to be at least one fresh bowler. Bracewell brings some desperation. His place has been taken and he hasn't been able to get it back. This bowling attack will definitely need that attitude in Wellington. We've got Trent Boult and Corey Anderson to offer that left-arm option. Give Wagner a rest for a week. He may come back in Auckland.

As far as the West Indies are concerned, there's nothing we should be frightened about in this series. We know we can bowl them out. If we get a decent wicket in Wellington, with a bit more pace and bounce, we should be confident.

- Sunday News

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