MELBOURNE New Zealand's rebuilding one-day international side played with "trepidation" against a resurgent Australia and their lack of intensity in the field contributed to a 3-0 series whitewash, Black Caps coach Mike Hesson said.
Australia, fired by another match-winning century from opener David Warner, completed the sweep with a 117-run rout of the touring side at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Friday.
That followed a pair of stinging losses for the Black Caps in Sydney and Canberra, magnifying a steep decline since Brendon McCullum's team contested the World Cup final against the same opponents last year.
"The first couple of games I'd describe them as a passive performance, especially in the field and with the ball," Hesson told reporters.
"There were some good signs (in Melbourne) with a more complete performance with the ball and in the field but we weren't able to back that up with the bat.
"The energy and intensity in the field is something we've really instilled into whoever has come into the group and those first couple of games that was the most disappointing, that we didn't offer as much as we needed to in the field and didn't back up our bowlers enough.
"We haven't played well at all. We've played a side with a little bit of trepidation. It's exposed us in some areas that we knew a little bit about but it's shown us we've got plenty of room to move."
With Ross Taylor scratched from the tour to have eye surgery, opener Martin Guptill and all-rounder James Neesham were the only New Zealand batsmen to excel with the bat in Kane Williamson's team.
Opener Tom Latham, BJ Watling and all-rounder Mitchell Santner had dreadful series, all averaging under 12.
Pace spearhead Trent Boult battled hard for his six wickets but had precious little support until Melbourne, where left-arm spinner Santner and Colin de Grandhomme made belated contributions.
"We've lost 10 players from our side from a year ago and we've got some players there who are trying to find their feet in international cricket," said Hesson.
"They've played against a very good side and some have shown glimpses and others have been found a little bit wanting in areas where we thought they'd be better in."
New Zealand take on a newly-confident Bangladesh in another three-match one-day series from Dec. 26 in Christchurch before three T20s and a two-test series against the same side in January.
(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford)