Black Caps: The good and the bad from the Australia series

This wasn't a home series to salivate over for New Zealand fans.

Brendon McCullum's farewell, from a team perspective, went all wrong, losses by an innings and 52 runs, then seven wickets emphasising Australia's worth over the two matches.

Not many caught the eye among the New Zealand players, several flattered to deceive.

Here's three of each...

The good:

Corey Anderson:
The big allrounder was making his first test appearances since last May. He did well with the bat, 38, 0, 72 and 40, was steady with the ball and took a superbly athletic return catch to dismiss Nathan Lyon in the first test in Wellington. He shared important fifth wicket stands at Christchurch with McCullum (179) in the first innings, and Kane Williamson (102) in the second innings. He can come away feeling satisfied with his return.

Neil Wagner:
Finally given a chance against Australia, the bouncy left armer responded with wholehearted effort at Hagley Oval. He took six for 106 in the first innings, his best test figures, charging in with over after over of short-pitched bowling to unsettle the batsmen. It may have been one-dimensional but took terrific stamina. He's never let the side down when chosen. Maybe not the country's most skilfull bowler but heaps of attitude. The fact he was overlooked for the first four tests against Australia takes some explaining.

Brendon McCullum:
Okay, not the farewell he'd have wanted from the team perspective, nor the runs he'd have liked. But his breakneck 54-ball century, the fastest ever in tests, was fabulous. It won't be forgotten by those who witnessed it. This was not a series of memorable performances by New Zealand players. However McCullum's ton was.

The poor:

Tim Southee:
An ordinary series, just three wickets at 67 runs each. Not good enough from the senior seamer. Clearly out of sorts in an injury-plagued summer, which raised the question of whether he should have played in Christchurch. Needs to rediscover his class.

Martin Guptill:
His problems against Australia continued, and compounded by the one time he got in and settled, he threw his wicket away hitting out in the second innings at Wellington to be caught at mid off. He now averages 16.94 in nine tests against Australia, against an overall 29.92. Coach Mike Hesson defended Guptill after the second test, pointing out he'd got a century three tests ago. He didn't mention that was against Sri Lanka. But banish any thought of him dropping down to the middle order. Hesson says he's an opener, end of story.

Tom Latham:
Ditto with Guptill at Wellington in the second innings. He was on 63 and set, then tried to loft Lyon and gave an easy catch to cover. Call it a brain fade. A legside catch off a miscued hook in the second innings at Christchurch when on 39 was another example of a headscratcher. He looks organised and compact but those were disappointing dismissals, especially given the circumstances of the matches at the time. There were others who were off colour, but Latham, test average 38, is better than that.

- NZ Herald

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