ADELAIDE: New Zealand have got over their stagefright and aim to leave Australia with their heads held high after the historic day-night third Test this week, skipper Brendon McCullum said today.
McCullum admitted the Black Caps were struck by nerves as they went down by 208 runs in the Brisbane series opener, but he said they were back on track after forcing a high-scoring draw in Perth.
The Kiwis get their chance to draw the three-match series if they beat the Australians in the pink-ball Adelaide Test, starting Friday.
McCullum said his team could leave with plenty of respect if they chalked up a win in the first-ever day-night Test, which has caught the imagination of Australian and international cricket fans.
"We were a bit nervous at the start of this series to be honest," he said. "We don't often get the opportunity to playbin such a big series and test ourselves against the best over a long period of time.
"We walked into this Test series as well prepared as we thought we could be but just a little bit nervous and I think that affected the way we were able to execute our skills.
"Credit to Australia. They put us under a lot of pressure early on. It was a combination of us not being quite at our best and Australia playing really well."
McCullum said the pendulum has swung since the second day in Perth, when Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson scored big centuries in a massive first innings total of 624.
"I think we've seen a team which is operating a littlecloser to where we expect ourselves to operate on a daily basis," he said. "There are certainly some encouraging signs. We've got to get better in this Test match as well because Australia will ask some different challenges of us again.
"If we can pull off a Test match victory here we leave Australia reasonably content with our work.
"We came over here to win the series, but that now is off the table but we can certainly leave with a lot of respect and a drawn series which would be a very good achievement against a new and emerging Australian side."
McCullum admitted his own form has been down, with the normally aggressive batsman struggling to make runs.
"Batting-wise I probably haven't been at my best in this series and I feel as if I can get past those first 20 balls then you can make an impact," he said.
"And what a game to do it in in the third match of a series against a very good Australian team in their own conditions in the first-ever day-night Test match."
McCullum did not name a team, saying key fast bowler Trent Boult's back complaint would be further assessed on match morning.
"We've got some considerations in terms of the wicket and just some slightly different quirks and with the game being played a bit later," he said.
"I wouldn't think we'd name an unchanged 11, I think there'll probably be some changes."