Black Caps plot upset
Brendon McCullum says New Zealand can threaten England - if they get their batting right.
Last Updated: 12/05/08 8:47pm
New Zealand are confident they can spring a surprise during the three Test series in England, which gets under way at Lord's on Thursday.
The tourists start as underdogs having lost 2-1 on home soil against the same opponents in March.
But vice-captain Brendon McCullum believes that result flattered England, who were soundly beaten in the first Test before coming good in the second and third matches of the series after dropping Matthew Hoggard and Steve Harmison.
"We won that first Test match with a formula that worked against them and if it wasn't for our inability to score runs at the top of the order in the last two Test matches then I'm sure we'd have run them a lot closer than we did," said McCullum.
"We've learned some huge lessons and taken a lot of confidence out of the performances recently and I'm sure if we can hit our straps and get the areas right that we're looking to maximise than we've got a real chance of coming out on top in this series, even if we are massive underdogs.
"Our bowling unit is pretty sound, but the times where they have struggled is when we haven't given them enough rest with the bat.
"That is something we need to make sure we can do in this Test series, to maximise the time they are off the park so they've got time to recover.
"The onus for that is on the top six to carve out some big runs and spend some significant time out in the middle."
New Zealand's search for a reliable opening pair continues with Aaron Redmond set for his Test debut at Lord's.
The Otago batsman made 146 and 64 in the final warm-up match against the England Lions and is now certain to partner Jamie How at the top of the Black Caps' batting order in the series opener.
"He's been fantastic, he's been brilliant," commented McCullum.
"He spent 360 overs on the bounce fielding and batting out in the middle and to be able to score 150 and then back it up with 12 overs with the ball and then to score 60-odd in the last innings is great.
"I'm sure he'll be a tired boy over the next couple of days but with a nice break leading in I'm sure his confidence will be high.
"It's certainly nice to have a top-order batsman like Aaron in such good form going into the Test match.
"He hasn't played a Test match but I'm sure if he plays the way he has done he will be very successful because the Lions attack was good and the confidence he will take out of this will stand him in good stead."