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Hesson lauds record Black Caps campaign

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 29/03/2017 Angelo Risso
Mike Hesson © Getty Mike Hesson

Rain may have spoiled the Black Caps' series decider against South Africa but the Kiwi Test outfit has no need to look back in anger.

New Zealand has won a record four Test matches over this season's campaign on home soil - two against both Bangladesh and Pakistan - to enjoy the most productive summer in the country's cricketing history.

That number may well have been five, had the heavens over Seddon Park on Wednesday been willing to play ball with a Kiwi side on the front foot.

Instead, as South Africa teetered on 80-5, the rain began to bucket down over the Waikato and send Mike Hesson's troops into an early international hiatus.

The showers also hand South Africa, now ranked No.2 in the world in Test cricket, a 1-0 series victory after an earlier draw in Dunedin and Kiwi implosion in Wellington.

"We've had one poor day in 15 days of Test cricket, taking the rain out of it. Outside of that, we've been exceptional," Hesson said.

"We've loss the toss three times, had some challenging times and fought pretty damn hard to get back in the game."

Hesson has plenty of cause to celebrate, having stumbled upon a competent second-string bowling attack in Trent Boult and Tim Southee's injury absence.

Matt Henry and Neil Wagner took the match to the Proteas in both Hamilton innings with a combined eight scalps, while Colin de Grandhomme picked up three.

With the willow, Kane Williamson again stood head and shoulders above the pack with his scalding 176, following on from an earlier century in Dunedin.

Opener Jeet Raval also pitched in with patient knocks of 88 and 80 across the series, while Henry Nicholls nabbed 118 in the Kiwi capital.

"You often find you've got depth when you have to. We've worked pretty hard to keep a lot of those guys in the group and touring with us," Hesson said.

"Really pleased with the way a number of players fronted at key times - Nicholls, Jeet Raval, the bowling side of things."

The Black Caps' Test schedule tails off over the next 24 months, as the side looks to focus on the white ball and go one better in the 2019 World Cup.

In the meantime, Hesson hoped he could pinch a diamond from the rough for the tournament, with a number of fringe Black Caps - including Nicholls, Tom Blundell, Raval and Lockie Ferguson - still taking part in New Zealand A games.

"Selection is all about timing, and it's also subjective. It's whether we think they're ready to stand up," Hesson said.

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