Domain Test Series v New Zealand
Aussie caning the catalyst to reinvigorate: Williamson
New Zealand skipper says soul searching in wake of chastening Test series at hands of a rampant Australia led to reversal of fortunes against India
Sam Ferris at the SCG
12 March 2020, 10:07 PM AEST
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson says his side had to take a long hard look at themselves after they were "exposed" by a rampant Australian Test side this summer.
The Black Caps arrived on Australian soil in December as the No.2 Test team in the world with a squad lauded as possibly the best New Zealand side ever assembled.
But two months later they returned home with their tails between their legs comprehensively beaten 3-0 by Tim Paine's charges.
That humbling loss forced Williamson and his team to engage in honest conversations about the way they played and where their cricket was going.
The self-reflection worked wonders as less than two months later New Zealand swept the No.1 Test team in the world, Virat Kohli's India, on home soil.
Winning away from home has become just about the hardest challenge in world cricket, but Williamson says adapting to foreign conditions is just one aspect of playing abroad.
And it was not the reason why his side were taught a free lesson on playing Test cricket in Australia this summer.
"When you lose and get exposed in such a large way it's not just conditions," Williamson said.
"Australia are one of the top Test teams in the world and are particularly clinical on these surfaces as well.
"But when you do get exposed like that, they are some of the best opportunities to learn and take a look at yourselves as individuals and as a team and the direction you want to go in.
"Despite them teaching us a number of lessons and it not being ideal, it's also the greatest opportunities to learn and grow."
New Zealand also swept India 3-0 in the one-day series on home soil and enter the battle for the Chapel-Hadlee Trophy as 2019 World Cup runners-up and the No.3 ODI team in the world.
The Black Caps' impressive white-ball form, and recent upset of India in the Test arena, has Australia skipper Aaron Finch wary of his trans-Tasman rivals.
"They played beautifully in the Test series against India," Finch said.
"They're always a side that brings their best against Australia and they're a world-class one-day team.
"Their ranking is reflective of that and every time they play in an ICC tournament they're so close to winning it.
"It just shows they're such a consistent side, a well-drilled side – they just do the basics really well all the time.
"They're a team that you have to bring you best and have a few standout performances to beat them."