By Niall Anderson in Melbourne
The Black Caps require serious improvements if they are to avoid a Boxing Day defeat in Australia – but a remarkable turnaround is not without precedent.
A crushing 296-run defeat in the first test in Perth would have diluted expectations for the 16,000 Kiwis crossing the ditch for today's iconic Melbourne test, but the Black Caps have displayed an ability to bounce back in recent years, and history shows a turnaround victory is far from impossible.
The Black Caps haven't lost back-to-back tests since 2016, and have recently claimed two impressive turnaround victories away from home. Against Pakistan, Gary Stead's side lost the second test by an innings, but came back to win the series-deciding third test, while in Sri Lanka, they lost the first test by six wickets, but came back to win the second test.
Their record in Australia also shows what is possible. In 2011, the opening test was lopsided, with the Black Caps going down by nine wickets, but that didn't stop a stunning display in Hobart, claiming a famous seven-run victory.
Similarly, in 2015, the Black Caps lost the first test by 208 runs, but came back to draw the second test, thanks to Kane Williamson's 166 and Ross Taylor's 290.
While the 296-run Perth defeat was one of the heaviest in Black Caps history, that's not necessarily a factor that consigns New Zealand to another defeat.
Of the 23 teams this century who have lost by a greater run margin and then played the same opponent in their next test, five managed to claim bounce-back victories – including three who accomplished the feat against Australia, while three earned draws.
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Black Caps batting coach Peter Fulton believes that the team will be much more competitive after the pink-ball mauling in Perth, and should also enjoy friendlier conditions.
"I think guys are acclimatised now, Perth was obviously a bit challenging with the heat and the surface we played on. I suspect this wicket will be a bit friendlier to bat on, especially later in the game."
And, secure in the knowledge of how the Black Caps have recently responded to adversity, Fulton argues that not much needs to change for New Zealand to join the list of teams who have bounced back from heavy defeats.
"We can't start to panic too much – there's a lot of guys in that top six or seven who have got really good records over the last few years, so while we need to play better, we don't need to change too much to what's given us success recently."
Teams this century who have immediately bounced back from a 300-run defeat:
2004 – India beat Australia by 13 runs
2013 – Bangladesh beat Zimbabwe by 143 runs
2015 – England beat Australia by eight wickets
2017 – India beat Australia by 75 runs
2017 – England beat South Africa by 239 runs