McCullum vows to maintain aggression

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum is adamant his side will stick with their attacking approach to Test cricket in the series finale against England at Headingley starting Friday.

The Black Caps suffered a 124-run loss in the first Test at Lord’s, concluded on Monday, to go 1-0 down in this two-match series.

New Zealand may have been unbeaten in their six previous Test series but their tactics, which included repeatedly bouncing Ben Stokes while the England all-rounder was making an 85-ball century, the quickest ever in a Lord’s Test, were called into question following the defeat.

“I feel it’s our greatest opportunity to win a Test match and series,” McCullum told reporters at Headingley on Thursday.

“Obviously, we went down the other day, but I thought we played some pretty good cricket throughout that Test match — and credit to England that they were good enough to run us down.

“This is how the New Zealand cricket team is playing, and there are times we’ll get beaten, but it’s our greatest chance of success,” said McCullum, much praised for his bold approach when leading the Black Caps to this year’s World Cup final.

Reflecting on events at Lord’s, McCullum said: “It’s not panic stations — we just have to improve our rough edges.

“I still feel we played a good Test match.

“While we are disappointed to have lost, we still scored more than 730 runs and took 20 wickets — which on most occasions would win you a Test match.”

McCullum also suggested the manner in which New Zealand played at Lord’s inspired England to be unusually aggressive.

“They were complimentary about our role in pushing them into a performance but I guess the challenge for England will be, what is their authentic style?

“What is their style that they want to be known for as a team heading forward? Was their last performance how they want to play the game, or was it more of a case of maybe stumbling on it?”

New Zealand have injury doubts over wicket-keeper BJ Watling (knee) and all-rounder Corey Anderson (back) which could lead to changes in their side at Headingley.

“Both BJ and Corey are doubtful at this stage,” said McCullum.

If Watling is unable to keep wicket, New Zealand would give a Test debut to one-day gloveman Luke Ronchi.

“If BJ is ruled out of keeping, then Ronc would come in and make his debut,” said McCullum.

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