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Black Caps test losses hard to take - Hesson

MATT RICHENS
Last updated 13:34 28/01/2013
Mike Hesson
KIRK HARGREAVES/Fairfax NZ
A LONG WAY TO GO: Black Caps coach Mike Hesson admits that the team's heavy test defeats in South Africa have been hard to take.

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Mike Hesson wasn't puffing his chest out on return from South Africa, he knows their historic 2-1 ODI series win doesn't absolve his side of their test failures.

He was clearly pleased to win the one-dayers, to get close in the Twenty20s and to introduce another group of players to international cricket, further developing his options in the shorter forms of the game.

But two innings defeats in the tests take plenty to forget and Hesson's clever enough to appreciate New Zealand cricket fans have long memories.

And test wins and losses burn far deeper into those memories than T20 or 50-over cricket.

''In test cricket, we've still got a long way to go,'' he said.

''We're a long way off the pace in test cricket, we have to acknowledge that, and we know we have a lot of work to do.''

And while the test series was an abject failure, in coloured clothing the side received two pass marks from the coach.

''The tour was definitely three parts,'' he said on his late return last night.

''The Twenty20 was pretty good, we were able to introduce a few new players and with the World Cup in mind in 2015, it gave us a chance to expose some players to some pretty hostile conditions so that was promising. The test series, we were outplayed completely.

''We know we've got a lot of work to do in the test arena. Then, a really nice way to finish, we played really well throughout the whole one day series.''

Hesson said the test losses were tough to take, but the silver lining was how well the side bounced back.

''We had a few new faces and a few older ones that came back and they were really keen to make an impact and they did,'' he said.

''When they came back, they lifted the whole vibe. We were a bit down after the test series, there was no doubt about that. We were clearly outplayed.

''But the work we put in between then and the end of the tour, mentally as much as anything, was pleasing. We attacked that first [ODI] game with real aggression and I think we stuck at that throughout the whole series.''

The challenge now is to keep it up against a slick English outfit.

''The Twenty20 is first and that will be our focus for a start, but we''ll be trying to build on this series,'' Hesson said.

''We want to improve with every series. We're not world beaters yet; we've played three pretty good games, but we're looking to improve more in the T20s and leading into the one-dayers.''

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