Black Caps need to be bat smarter against India, says Kane Williamson

Author
NZ Herald,
Section
Cricket,
Publish Date
Thursday, 24 January 2019, 3:47PM
Kane Williamson says the Black Caps need to be smarter. Photo / Photosport
Kane Williamson says the Black Caps need to be smarter. Photo / Photosport

Kane Williamson has called for a smarter batting approach as the Black Caps try to bounce back from a heavy opening defeat in their ODI series against India.

The hosts were rolled for just 157 at McLean Park on Wednesday, batting for just 38 overs as first seamer Mohammed Shami, then a raft of wily spinners, put them under pressure in India's eventual eight-wicket victory.

Only Williamson, with 64, showed any resistance, as the middle order all got brief starts before departing. Partnerships of 34, 24, 31 and 26 between Williamson and the middle order summed up the New Zealand innings – fleeting promise that was cut short well before anything dangerous could emerge.

Williamson praised the Indian bowling attack for a performance that gave the Black Caps batsmen plenty of lessons to take away.

"I think they did perhaps expose us in some areas – I think the length they bowled was outstanding, it did make scoring hard to achieve.

"For a period of time there we were ticking it over. Whenever we put together six or seven overs or 25 runs, we'd lose another wicket, and that seemed to be the theme throughout our innings.

"Often it can come down to making a couple of better decisions, as batsmen, if you do get past perhaps that crossroads of pressure and come out the other side, then you can build those partnerships. It's a fine line."

The disappointment in the New Zealand batting display was magnified by the expectations coming into the clash, with a par score estimated to be over 300, on a surface which was expected to be quick.

However, Williamson said he was surprised by the surface offering more to the slower bowlers than the seamers, and believed the batsmen were far too slow to adapt.

"Coming back here, the traditional Napier surface has got a little bit more pace and bounce and tends to be part of those much higher-scoring games, and it certainly wasn't that surface, but it just required a bit more smarts and we didn't show that.

"It's fair to say we weren't expecting the surface to play that way, but in saying that it wasn't a bad surface, it was just different to what we were expecting. That's fine, that's what cricket is about. From our perspective we did want to play smarter on those sorts of surfaces."

Smart was a word that Williamson had on the mind post-match, arguing that there were no technical issues that needed to be solved, and better batsmanship all that was required for an improved effort in Mount Maunganui on Saturday.

"The cricket smarts is something I think we want to be just a little bit better at – it's something we do pride ourselves on but it just wasn't there.

"It's probably [about] awareness, and just making an adjustment to the opposition."

That opposition happens to be one of the best sides in the world, and the Black Caps will need to be near their best to get back on level terms.

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