Williamson urges more fighting spirit from New Zealand

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30 Dec 2019 | 04:27 AM

Williamson urges more fighting spirit from New Zealand

Williamson said his team need to take a leaf out of century-maker Tom Blundell's book



New Zealand captain Kane Williamson said his team need to mirror the fighting spirit of century-maker Tom Blundell if they are to bounce back from their second-Test thrashing by Australia.

Opener Blundell was the last man out in Melbourne after compiling a battling 121 as team-mates threw their wickets away in the improbable 488-run chase to save the match.

Williamson called it a "magnificent" innings.

"Obviously it was hard work out there, the task was immense. But you look at some small positives... that was a truly fantastic innings," he said after the 247-run defeat -- their second Test loss inside four days.

"He led the way and it is important that we all take something from that.

"The effort from the bowlers throughout was something that is inspiring to us as a team, that never-give-up attitude.

"But at the same time if we are looking for areas to improve there are a few of them. We do need to try and put Australia under a bit more pressure before their first innings total gets past that point of control."

Australia took the game away from New Zealand on day one after Williamson won the toss and took a gamble by putting them in to bat.

It turned out to be a poor decision, but he insisted it was a reasonable one at the time.

"I felt like there was enough in the surface to bowl first and it was obviously very important for us to be on top of our game and the surface did offer some sideways movement and swing," he said.

"But credit to Australia for getting through that first session and put 400 on the board."

Williamson's team must now regroup quickly with the third and final Test in Sydney later this week. The series has been lost and they will be playing for pride only.

"All round from our perspective we need to be better in all departments. We do need to be better come Sydney," he said.

"We haven't been at our best, but it is important that we try and learn really quickly and improve in all areas."

Meanwhile, captain Tim Paine pointed to teamwork on Sunday as the crucial factor in Australia winning all four home Tests so far this summer -- and all inside four days.

"I think it shows that we're starting to spread the load," he said.

"When we work together as a team and build pressure -- one day it's going to be Pat (Cummins), the next day it's going to be Nathan (Lyon), the next day it's going to be James Pattinson, another day it's going to be Mitchell Starc.

"We just keep driving that home to all our team," he added.

"If we keep building pressure as a team we've got some absolute firepower and we know that all of them are going to have their day in the sun."

Paine said the same applied to the batting, where some fired in Melbourne and others didn't.

"The same with the batting, trying to build partnerships, trying to take teams' bowlers really deep, make them bowl lots of overs," he said.

"At some stage we're all going to get a chance to score lots of runs as well."

Australia, who retained the Ashes in England heading into the home summer, have one final Test against the Black Caps in Sydney later this week. Paine said he wanted the same intensity for that game, which meant muted celebrations in Melbourne with such a short turnaround.

"We want to win every Test match, there's no doubt about that," he said.

"We know we've wrapped up the series here today, which was pleasing, but with the (ICC) Test match championship every Test is really important.

"So winning the series is almost less important until we wrap up next week hopefully with another good win." 

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