NZ coach Hesson: We were close to perfection

11:23, Dec 10 2013
Black Caps v West Indies - first test
Ross Taylor slashes a shot through point.
Black Caps v West Indies - first test
Tino Best appeals for the wicket of Peter Fulton.
Black Caps v West Indies - first test
Hamish Rutherford scored a free-flowing half century in the opening session.
Black Caps v West Indies - first test
Team captains Brendon McCullum and Darren Sammy shakes hands at the toss.
Black Caps v West Indies - first test
Peter Fulton plays a shot into the offside.
Black Caps v West Indies - first test
Brendon McCullum plays a shot through the offside.
Black Caps v West Indies - first test
Brendon McCullum acknowledges the crowd after scoring a test century for the Black Caps.
Black Caps vs West Indies - first test
Ross Taylor takes the plaudits of the crowd after scoring his double century.
Black Caps vs West Indies - first test
Ross Taylor flicks the ball away on his way to a double century.
Trent Boult
Trent Boult
Trent Boult
Fans on the bank during Day 2.
Trent Boult
Black Cap Tim Southee celebrates the wicket of Kieran Powell.
Trent Boult
West Indies' Shane Shillingford bowls.
Trent Boult
Black Cap Ross Taylor bats.
Trent Boult
Black Cap Brendon McCullum fields.
Tim Southee gallery
Tim Southee appeals unsuccessfully for a LBW decision on Narsingh Deonarine.
Tim Southee gallery
Shivnarine Chanderpaul looks to the sky after his half century.
Darren Bravo gallery
Darren Bravo celebrates his century.
Darren Bravo gallery
Darren Bravo walks off after being dismissed by Trent Boult on day five.
Darren Bravo gallery
Shane Shillingford drives the ball away for four runs.
Darren Bravo gallery
And Bravo's out.
Darren Bravo gallery
Peter Fulton dismissed.
Darren Bravo gallery
Darren Sammy of the West Indies celebrates taking the wicket of Peter Fulton.
Darren Bravo gallery
Fulton works the ball away for four runs.
University Oval
The covers dominate at a wet University Oval.
Mike Hesson
A dejected Black Caps coach Mike Hesson looks skyward in the hopes the rain will stop.
Brendon McCullum
Black Caps skipper Brendon McCullum was left ruing a test win that got away from his side in Dunedin.

Coach Mike Hesson says New Zealand's performance in the first cricket test against the West Indies was "close to perfect" even though the team had to settle for a draw.

New Zealand hope to go one better and get their first test win in 11 matches under Hesson and captain Brendon McCullum in the second encounter that begins in Wellington tomorrow.

The Basin Reserve pitch is expected to be livelier than the strip at the University Oval, which produced a high-scoring draw in the first test, with the help of rain in the final session.

That's likely to suit New Zealand's bowlers more than the West Indies' depleted attack and Hesson hopes his team will get over their recent inability to close out matches.

New Zealand should have won the first test at Dunedin after forcing the West Indies to follow on 396 runs behind, but the hosts bowled poorly in the second innings, allowing the West Indies to make 507. Still, New Zealand should have been able to score 112 to get the win, but the team slumped to 44-4 before rain brought an end to the match, 33 runs from victory.

Hesson said New Zealand felt "frustrated" to be stranded so close to a test win, but he acknowledged that his team wouldn't have had to bat again if they had bowled better.

"The outcome was frustrating, but, to be fair, it was pretty close to the perfect test really," Hesson said. "It will go down as a draw but we know that we played very well.

"I think the team's starting to turn the corner in terms of our method and how we play. Sure, we'd love the wins in the column but you've got to learn to draw first and get yourself in positions to win."

New Zealand have often gotten themselves into positions to win only to fail time and again to close out matches. The squad is now counting on the Basin Reserve to provide conditions that will suit their pace attack, but that has been the expectation in each of the last three tests at the ground - against Pakistan, South Africa and England - and all of those have been drawn.

Key batsman Kane Williamson has been confirmed in New Zealand's starting lineup, batting at No 3 after missing the first test because of a broken thumb.

Leg spinner Ish Sodhi will play again, but McCullum has yet to decide whether Doug Bracewell or Neil Wagner will take the third seamer's role and have the unenviable task of bowling into the Wellington wind.

McCullum said the Basin Reserve pitch looks set to assist the seamers.

"It certainly does have a rather green tinge to it," he said. "We saw in the first test our bowlers are certainly capable of extracting the most value out of those wickets.

"If the coin falls the right way, then we'll get first use of it and I'm confident our bowlers will bowl that natural fuller length and hopefully we'll present a tough challenge to the West Indies batsmen."

The tourists will consider taking two spinners into the match, pairing Shane Shillingford with either Sunil Narine or Veerasammy Permaul. Captain Darren Sammy has recovered from a leg injury and will again be used as third seamer.

"We have to look at the pitch first," coach Ottis Gibson said. "We've heard some things about it, that we won't be able to tell the pitch from the outfield so that will make us think for sure about two spinners or not."

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Mike Hesson
WATER PLEASE: Black Caps coach Mike Hesson wants plenty of moisture in the pitches for the two tests against India.

AP