Port of Spain: New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum believes one bad session cost his side the second Test against West Indies, and says they need to stick to their game plan if they are to win the third Test and the series.
The Black Caps won the opening Test by 186 runs in four days in Jamaica to take a 1-0 lead in the series but then slumped to a disappointing 10-wicket defeat in the second Test at Queen's Park Oval on Friday, reports CMC.
Opting to bat first, New Zealand were 159 for three at tea on the opening day but lost seven wickets for 62 runs in just over an hour in the final session, to be dismissed for 221.
"I thought right throughout the Test, barring that one session ...we were pretty good," McCullum said.
"I thought the application and the intensity with which our seamers bowled was outstanding and something we can be really proud of. On another day they could have easily knocked the top off the West Indies batting order."
Even when trailing by 239 runs in the first innings after West Indies piled up 460 all out, the Black Caps showed plenty character to battle back from 212 for eight after tea on the penultimate day, to 331 all out at lunch Friday's final day.
They were led by gutsy wicket-keeper Bradley-John Watling, who finished unbeaten on 66, in 6-1/2 hours at the crease, along with tail-ender Mark Craig who top scored with 67.
"BJ's fast becoming my favourite cricketer actually - his strength of character and fighting qualities [stand out]," McCullum noted.
"The guy never complains he gets on with the job, he goes out there and keeps for a hundred and something overs and then bats for seven hours trying to save a Test match for his country."
The two teams meet in the final Test at Kensington Oval in Barbados starting Thursday, and McCullum believes New Zealand have a strong chance of getting a positive result.
"We have been going pretty well in Test cricket in the last 12 to 18 months and our formula has become pretty familiar to us. We have just got to make sure we are still trying to do the right things and still trying to execute our game plan," said the skipper.
"If we do that and have a little bit of luck going our way as well in Barbados I'm confident we can certainly turn this performance around and finish strong."