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Wednesday, 15 May 2013

England must improve to beat feisty New Zealand

England have been left in no doubt about what will be required of them in the first test against New Zealand starting at Lord's on Thursday.

The world's second-ranked team struggled on their recent tour of New Zealand where they were outplayed in the three-test series, salvaging a 0-0 draw only by stubbornly batting out a gripping final day of the third match in Auckland.
With the five-match Ashes series against Australia starting in July, captain Alastair Cook and his team mates know they must focus fully on beating New Zealand under the enterprising leadership of Brendon McCullum.
"They under-performed in New Zealand but you don't just discard somebody because they have had a bad time as a unit," England chairman of selectors Geoff Miller said.
"You say right, not good enough, improve. That's the message they have been given.
"New Zealand are a good side but we didn't play to the capabilities shown in the past.
"That has got to be rectified. We had one or two injuries to people you would class in your best side but it was very disappointing. They are capable of playing far better than that - and know that - and I'm quietly confident that they'll show they are a better side."
England arrived in New Zealand on a high after their first test series victory in India since 1985 but their batsmen failed to make enough runs to put the hosts under pressure.
"It keeps your feet on the ground," Miller said. "It makes you realise you can't just go through the motions and expect to win the game because, on paper, you are supposedly superior."
New Zealand, ranked eighth in the world, showed great resilience after a turbulent end to last year in which their captain Ross Taylor was sacked in acrimonious circumstances and they lost two tests in South Africa in January by an innings. (Reuters)

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