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Last Updated: Monday, 14 June, 2004, 09:07 GMT 10:07 UK
Inconsistency was our downfall
Mark Richardson writes for BBC Sport
By Mark Richardson
New Zealand batsman at Trent Bridge

I have to be honest and say, 3-0 is a fair result for this Test series.

Once again we let ourselves down through our inability to play consistently over the full length of the match.

In every game we matched England in the first innings - and at times were in the box seat - and yet in all games we surrendered the initiative and effectively lost the game on the fourth day.

The third Test at Trent Bridge was almost a mirror of the Lord's Test.

James Franklin
Franklin performed well but was not in the same class as Harmison
Once again we had batted ourselves into a winning position only for our middle and lower order to crumble resulting in a final innings total for England to chase that was 50 or so runs too short.

It was the bowling that was the major difference between the two teams.

England's attack was perfectly balanced, with Harmison as a spearhead and crucial to England's success.

His presence on the field not only provided wickets for himself but also resulted in us searching for runs at the other end.

The rest of the English bowlers complemented Harmison beautifully and were at times gifted soft wickets.

We on the other hand lacked that spearhead and as a result never really operated as a bowling unit.

We lacked firepower and were unable to keep enough pressure on the English batters for long enough.

There were results in all three matches because the playing surfaces were great Test match pitches.

Perhaps Headingley was a bit sporting but that said you still had to bowl the right style of ball to get the lift and a bad ball was still a bad ball.

There is a style of cricket required to succeed in these conditions and New Zealand is not a great exponent of this style.

More often that not, first class and Test surfaces in New Zealand offer ample sideways movement on the first couple of days and then generally get better and better for batting as the game progresses.

Steve Harmison
Harmison struck fear into the hearts of the Kiwi batsmen
Quite often the result can be found in the first two days with the last few days a mere formality.

In other nations days four and five are the "moving days".

As seen during this series we were great during the first few days.

And the reason for this is we tend to train for and play first innings cricket.

With moisture in the wicket and sideways assistance for the bowler you can get away with bowling between 75 and 80 mph.

However when the pitch is dry such elements as reverse swing and spin come into play, and as the wicket deteriorates up and down movement is accentuated the faster and harder the ball is delivered into the pitch.

We are just not used to the intensity required to take advantage of these conditions.

If my nation is to become a world force we must improve our ability to play in the conditions we experienced over here.

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