MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Under-fire New Zealand captain Kane Williamson said his beaten Black Caps side need a fresh mindset and improvement “in all departments” to avoid being whitewashed by a confident Australia in Sydney after their Boxing Day thrashing.
New Zealand were crushed by 247 runs on day four at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday, their second successive capitulation after losing the opener in Perth by 296 runs.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Tom Blundell scored a defiant 121 as replacement for opener Jeet Raval at the MCG on Sunday and seamer Neil Wagner grabbed his 200th wicket in the match.
But those were small consolations in what was a largely woeful display by a side that could produce only 148 runs in reply to Australia’s first innings 467.
“A couple of parts today were silver linings but at the same time there is a bit of work to be done and we need to get our heads around the challenge that is next in Sydney,” Williamson told reporters, referring to the third test starting on Friday.
“We do need to try and put Australia under a bit more pressure before their first innings total gets past that point of control.
“From a bowling perspective, effort (was) great but (we) also need to try and find ways to take wickets.
“Being better in all departments is very important. It’s a quick turnaround (before Sydney) and I think the adjustment is mental also.”
It has been a poor series from an individual perspective for Williamson, who has managed only 57 runs from his four innings in the series and was trapped lbw for a duck by James Pattinson on Sunday.
Former players and pundits, including his predecessor as skipper Brendon McCullum, have lined up to criticise the 29-year-old for his captaincy and decision-making.
His decision to send Australia in to bat after winning the toss backfired as his bowlers failed to hit their lengths on a wicket that provided ample reward for the home team.
Williamson admitted the test was probably lost on day one.
“Yes, there was probably a missed trick there,” he said.
“If we’re being critical we did need to be better, we needed to put the ball in the right area for longer periods to try and create a few more opportunities.
“Then the pitch hardened up in that second session. And Australia was brilliant. Hats off to the way they have been playing.”
Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Tom Hogue