Returning to Dunedin is both an enjoyable and challenging experience.
A proud Otago man, I’m rather defensive of any criticism the boys throw my hometown's way (plenty), with the climate coming under particular scrutiny.
Luckily, both the weather and the Test match went pretty well.
Brendon said afterwards it was one of our most thorough performances in recent times and I couldn’t agree more. Everyone in the 11 played their role brilliantly and stuck to the task.
You have to give Sri Lanka their dues, they certainly made us work for it. In Test cricket you have to be up for the fight and I think the attitude we brought was spot on.
It was a satisfying first step. As a group we’ve talked about having the hunger to keep improving and taking that momentum into the second ANZ Test in Hamilton.
Once we’ve seen the Seddon Park pitch we’ll have a few tough decisions to make selection wise, but I’m confident whatever team we select we’ll go out with the same aggressive approach which we’ve shown over the last 24 months.
Outside of playing, it’s been nice to return to New Zealand and begin our home tour.
We’ve already had a couple of team barbecues, one hosted by Neil Wagner in Dunedin and one by BJ Watling in Hamilton. There’s been plenty of backyard cricket, a few balls over fences, but no broken windows yet thankfully.
As a coach it’s really pleasing to see the guys relax and enjoy some of these moments when we get the chance.
It’s a long summer and for the majority of it you’re away from family, but this unit is as close a group as we’ve had both on and off the field and I think that plays a big part in our success.
If you get the chance, come down to a game this summer. The guys love your support.