NZ coach Gary Stead admits 'misreading pitch' in Wellington Test against Aus

New Delhi, March 4 (IANS): Head coach Gary Stead admitted New Zealand had misjudged the pitch of Basin Reserve in the series opener, accepting that the hosts got their selection wrong for the first Test against Australia in Wellington.

In the first Test, New Zealand opted for a four-man pace attack, leaving out left-arm spin all-rounder Mitchell Santner.

However, on day three, the pitch began to favour spin, leading to Glenn Phillips taking 5-45 in the second innings, while Australian spinner Nathan Lyon claimed ten wickets as the visitors cruised to a 172-run victory in the New Zealand capital last week.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Stead admitted that New Zealand failed to accurately assess the conditions at home and rued the decision to leave Santner out for the series opener.

"If we knew it was going to spin, not so much the spin but the bounce, then Santner would have played. We got that wrong, put our hand up around that as well. It’s not what we expected, not what we’ve seen from the Basin Reserve in the past either. I think it’s maybe a little bit the dryness of our summer has made things a little bit different to what we normally see here.

"We put our hands up as well and say there’s a couple of times we haven’t got it right, but we’ll say try and again balance out over five days, not just over one or two days," Stead was quoted by Fox Cricket.

Earlier, New Zealand captain Tim Southee also admitted that New Zealand had misread the conditions at Wellington, where they sidelined Santner.

"We certainly didn’t think it was going to spin as much as it did (or) the turn or bounce that was on offer over the last couple of days. We’ll go to Hagley and we’ll assess the wicket, hopefully a little bit better than we did here," Southee had said.

Meanwhile, New Zealand has called uncapped fast-bowler Ben Sears to replace Will O’Rourke, who has been ruled out of the second and final Test after picking up a hamstring injury in Wellington.

The second Test between New Zealand and Australia gets underway at Christchurch on Friday.



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Title: NZ coach Gary Stead admits 'misreading pitch' in Wellington Test against Aus

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