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Hesson praises 'thorough performance'

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 1/08/2016

New Zealand coach Mike Hesson has praised his side's "thorough performance" following their innings and 117 run defeat of Zimbabwe in the first Test in Bulawayo.

Centuries from Tom Latham, BJ Watling and Ross Taylor and some career-best bowling from Neil Wagner, who took 8-41 in the first innings, steered the Black Caps to victory inside four days.

"With the bat we talked about sticking to our plans for decent periods of time and I thought we did that," said Hesson.

"When we came over here we always said 20 wickets would be tough to take, especially in Bulawayo. The new ball proved to be incredibly worthwhile for us."

Wagner was a stand-out with the ball, peppering the Zimbabwe batsmen with a short-ball barrage in the first innings and the early part of their second dig before finding some reverse swing as the ball aged.

Hesson said the left-arm seamer had become better at adjusting his game plan and was reaping the rewards.

"He can swing the new ball and he can certainly reverse the old one and we know he can bowl bumpers, especially on unresponsive surfaces."

Watling, who scored the fastest of New Zealand's three centuries, didn't grab the headlines in the way Wagner did but the wicket-keeper's efforts with the bat and behind the stumps did not go unnoticed by his coach.

"He often bats with the tail and his ability to eke out as many runs as possible to get us to competitive scores and even dominant scores has been crucial for us the last three years.

"We're not going to trade BJ for anyone."

The team will now have three days off ahead of the second Test which begins on Saturday at the same Queen Sports Club venue.

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