CHRISTCHURCH: New Zealand cricketers have linked a record year of Test wins, after defeating Sri Lanka by eight wickets Monday, to a drubbing two years ago by South Africa.

New Zealand have won five Tests in 2014 for the first time in a calendar year after series wins at home against India (1-0) and away in the West Indies (2-1). They also drew a series with Pakistan (1-1) in the UAE earlier this month.

New Zealand’s improvement could be directly linked to a disastrous innings of 45 against South Africa in January 2013, according to captain Brendon McCullum.

After that humiliation things had to change.

“We sat down and worked out where we were at after being bow­l­ed out for 45 against Sou­th Africa,” McCullum said.

“We knew we had to make some changes, not just from an internal point of view but also externally how we are viewed by the public.

“It was essential to all of us that we wanted the public support and the best way to go about that is to make sure you’re out there and trying to represent New Zealand with everything you’ve got.”

“After being humbled in South Africa — losing both Tests by an innings — New Zealand drew six and lost two of their next eight Tests before ending 2013 with back-to-back wins over West Indies.

This year they have won five and drawn two of nine Tests.

“We want to make sure we’re playing aggressive cricket. We’re looking for results. You remember your Test wins. You don’t necessarily remember your draws,” McCullum said. “There is always pressure on places even when you achieve a record five Test wins in a calendar year.”—AFP

Published in Dawn, December 30th, 2014

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