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Black Caps seek patience in Zimbabwe Tests

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 22/07/2016

Discipline and timing will be key for the Black Caps as they begin a hectic nine months of international cricket with a two-Test series against Zimbabwe next week, coach Mike Hesson says.

The team have arrived in Harare following a week-long training camp in Pretoria, and are now looking forward to a three-day warm up match against Zimbabwe A before the first Test begins in Bulawayo next Thursday.

Hesson says the Black Caps have structured their run-in to the Zimbabwe Tests carefully.

"We've had a slow and steady build-up - we haven't gone too hard too soon, which is a challenge."

He said patience with both bat and ball would be key as the Black Caps looked to familiarise themselves with Zimbabwe conditions.

"I think in Bulawayo we're expecting something that's going to be relatively slow and not a heck of a lot of bounce, so taking 20 wickets will be a challenge.

"The Zimbabwe bowling attack is very disciplined, so from a batting point of view it's about committing to your plans for long periods of time."

New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson has also landed in Harare after a low-key stint at Yorkshire which has included 42 runs from four first class innings, and only one half-century in 12 innings across all formats.

He is expecting Zimbabwe to prove difficult on their home turf, with the memory still fresh of New Zealand's narrow 34-run win in 2011 last time the two teams met in Zimbabwe.

"It's a big series for us - we've got two Tests here and two in South Africa, and we certainly know Zimbabwe in their own conditions are a stiff challenge," he said.

"It's important that we're looking to be smart... it might be a little different here, depending on what the surface presents."

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