NZ coach backs players in Smith appeal bungle

Australian captain Steve Smith plays a shot while on his way to score 164 runs
Australian captain Steve Smith plays a shot while on his way to score 164 runs DAVID MOIR

CRICKET: New Zealand coach Mike Hesson has defended his players over the key moment in their 68-run loss to Australia in the first One-Day International at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

The Black Caps chose not to refer a loud lbw appeal against Australian captain Steve Smith to the third umpire. Smith was on 14 and replays showed he would have been given out.

He went on to a match-deciding 164, the highest ODI score made on the ground.

"There was plenty of chat afterwards about that,” Hesson said.

"There were two sounds and the possibility of an inside edge. We're all aware there wasn't. That was the thinking and you could understand it. It was a little bit frustrating.”

Hesson said he and batting coach Craig McMillan thought they had heard two noises from the boundary as well.

"We were going 'he's probably nicked it” and clearly he didn't. We didn't have a great view at wide third man but those things happen.”

New Zealand's protocol in those situations is that captain Kane Williamson "generally looks to the guy square on in terms of the height.

"The keeper sometimes has a good look, sometimes he's obscured. First slip sometimes has a better look and he was unsure.

"All that's got to happen pretty quickly and it was pretty costly in the end,” Hesson said.

New Zealand's Matt Henry, left, celebrates bowling out Australia's Aaron Finch
New Zealand's Matt Henry, left, celebrates bowling out Australia's Aaron Finch Rick Rycroft

Both teams fly to Canberra today to prepare for the second ODI in the three-game series tomorrow.

New Zealand will make no team selection decisions until after seeing the Manuka Oval pitch, but Hesson hinted strongly that senior seamer Tim Southee would return.

He missed out to Matt Henry in the fast-medium mix in game one, Hesson pointing out world No.5-ranked Henry's compelling ODI form warranted his selection.

He's taken 12 wickets in five ODIs against Australia, including eight in three matches last summer. Overall Henry has taken 56 wickets in 28 ODIs at a tidy 23.42 apiece.

"It was a tough call but we've backed Tim a lot in terms of test cricket. Matt, with what he's done in the last 12 months, he deserved that first crack.”

- NZ Herald

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