9 Dec 2018

Black Caps ready to refocus after series win

7:57 pm on 9 December 2018

The Black Caps historic series win over Pakistan is just the beginning, new coach Gary Stead said on the team's return to New Zealand.

Gary Stead

Gary Stead Photo: Photosport

The New Zealanders won the first test by a scant four runs, before stumbling to an innings and 16-run defeat in the second.

But they sealed an emphatic 123-run victory in the third and final test in Abu Dhabi, major contributions coming from debutant spinner Will Somerville, who ended up with a match haul of seven wickets, and batsman Henry Nicholls, whose unbeaten 126 included his third test century.

Skipper Kane Williamson also featured, delivering 89 in the first innings before anchoring New Zealand's second innings with a superb 139.

Despite enjoying New Zealand's first series win over Pakistan in 49 years, Stead says his team are now ready to refocus on the upcoming home series against Sri Lanka, which begins with the first test on Saturday in Wellington.

"It will definitely be a different challenge - we've got to come down off the high a wee bit and the travel home," he said.

"We have a really busy summer ahead of us now."

Stead said it would be important to manage his players carefully through the summer, looking ahead to next year's ODI World Cup in England and Wales.

But the inaugural world test championship beginning in August next year was also a key focus, and the Pakistan series had provided an ideal final testing ground for that.

"New Zealand has a great record at home, but you look at the test championship starting relatively soon and I think the teams that are likely to get a long way through in that comeptition are the teams that can win away from home," Stead said.

"We're very aware that two of ours are Sri Lanka and Bangladesh away, and they're tough to beat in those conditions. This was our last chance to test a few things before those tours in the future."

The Black Caps will name their 13-strong squad for the first test against Sri Lanka on Monday, and Stead says a difficult decision is looming when it comes to picking a spinner.

"It's hard, and that's a really good place to be in. We've had three spinners on this tour with Ish Sodhi, Ajaz Patel and Somerville.

"We will have to pick one."