Learning reverse swing a priority - Mike Hesson

By David Leggat

Trent Boult and the New Zealand bowlers failed to produce reverse swing like their Australian counterparts. Photo / Getty
Trent Boult and the New Zealand bowlers failed to produce reverse swing like their Australian counterparts. Photo / Getty

Sorting out the intricacies of reverse swing looms as a priority project for New Zealand's bowlers in the coming months.

Australia's greater prowess at making the older ball go the 'other ' way in the air was a significant difference between the teams in the two tests in New Zealand.

It was noticeable that James Pattinson, Josh Hazlewood in particular were able to get the ball moving on the third afternoon of the second test at Hagley Oval when New Zealand's second innings was put in a headlock despite conditions being good for batting.

Reverse swing is achieved by making the ball move in the air in the opposite direction to conventional swing - which is when it heads towards the more roughed up side of the ball.

It tends to be more readily achievable for fast-medium bowlers on abrasive surfaces, which age balls more quickly than the green, lusher grounds of New Zealand.

New Zealand coach Mike Hesson has admitted attention needs to be put on mastering that skill.

"At times we got it to go, but we (not) as consistently as Australia did, and they got it to go a lot earlier than us," he said.

''Whenever we travel to the sub-continent it's probably more of a focus and not so much in New Zealand. (But) it certainly has in the last couple of tests," Hesson said.

He admitted his bowlers had been inferior to Australia's in good batting conditions from day two onwards in Christchurch.

"They were able to generate more movement throughout the match, not just in the first innings (when conditions were in the seamers' favour) which was a big turning point."

Hesson maintained the gap between the teams is narrower than the overall 4-0 result over the five tests either side of the Tasman this season would suggest.

''in Adelaide (the inaugural pink ball test) we felt we were pretty close.

''I think over here to be fair we weren't close in the end result, but certainly we felt that if things had been a little different then we might have been able to put a bit more pressure on them."

However Hesson paid tribute to Australia's top five batsmen David Warner, Joe Burns, Usman Khawaja, captain Steve Smith and Adam Voges.

They produced a collective 12 centuries between them in the five tests - three each to Warner and Khawaja, two apiece to the other three.

They scored two in each first innings of the two tests in New Zealand, which put them firmly on top.

New Zealand managed two by Kane Williamson and one each from Ross Taylor and Brendon McCullum.

"We were unable to break them down and get wickeets in clumps, which obviously Australia were able to do.

"To be fair I think their top five batsmen were exceptional," Hesson added.

New Zealand's next assignment is the world T20 starting in India in mid-February.

The leading players have an Island of Origin North-South T20 game in Wellington on Sunday before heading to Dubai on March 3 for a preparatory camp en route to India.

- NZ Herald

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