Failure to perform under pressure hampers NZ

GLENN MCLEAN
Last updated 05:00 09/12/2013

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OPINION: It was as if the claps of thunder around University Oval were sadistic applause from the cricketing gods.

Not this time Brendon McCullum and Mike Hesson.

From a position where it appeared harder to lose or draw than win, our test side did exactly that - draw, that is.

They can blame the weather, a poor umpiring decision and a docile pitch but they should be blaming themselves.

What used to be a consistent bright light, New Zealand's fielding, is letting them down, as is a lack of good decision- making, particularly from the bowlers.

Where was the variation from our pace attack? Where were the slow balls, the plans to get batsmen out?

The last session on Friday, the point New Zealand should have got themselves over the line, was a detailed version of what is wrong with this Black Caps side.

There is a reason they have not won a test in the calender year and it was all on display on Friday and through the two sessions on Saturday.

As well as a failure to come up with any shocks for the West Indies batsmen, there was no pressure built.

It was all "going through the motions" stuff, hoping for a lack of concentration from the opposition as the runs flowed and flowed.

Half volley after half volley, four after four delivered over and over with the same pace from bowlers too easily prepared to show the opposition they were tired.

Darren Bravo did magnificently well for a West Indies side who had every reason to fall in a heap after the worst possible buildup to a test match.

If Friday's final session was frustrating, the New Zealand batsmen showed how poor they perform under pressure.

It was hard to figure out which dismissal was worse, that of Hamish Rutherford or Aaron Redmond.

Rutherford is a slow learner who should be haunted by the laughter from the West Indies field as he showed a lack of intelligence and execution. Redmond's decision to lap the ball around the corner, into the hands of a fielder posted there more out of sheer hope than any expectation, was particularly disappointing and a decision that will haunt the Otago man for many a summer to come.

Worst of all, though, was Hesson's inability to get his batsmen moving as they approached tea.

With the technology available to them, there was no excuse for not knowing rain was imminent and things had to be moved on.

A cruel way to end a test they dominated for so long? Yes, but it seems the Hesson-McCullum partnership is in line for more of the same as we get to 10 tests and counting without a win.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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