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The honeymoon is over for Steve Smith. For the first time in the Australian captain's reign he is short of runs and presiding over a team that is not winning.
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It's too early to say Smith is in a slump but his form tailed off towards the end of the home summer and the change of scenery in New Zealand has failed to improve his fortunes. His last five hits have produced only 90 runs at 18.
That trend needs swift reversing if Australia are to achieve their main assignment in the Shaky Isles - win the Test series and regain the No.1 Test ranking.
Australia's defeat in the one-dayers marked Smith's first series loss as captain and coincided with his drying up of runs.
The Australians are by no means a one-man side but much depends on Smith returning to somewhere near the form which has made him the one of the best batsmen in the world.
It was no coincidence the two Tests Australia won last year in the Ashes came after massive agenda-setting tons from Smith, while he failed to pass 50 in each of the team's three defeats.
In fact, Smith is yet to make a century in any of the 14 losses he has played in, averaging 28.55 in those games as opposed to 77 from his 19 winning appearances.
Smith shocked many with his claim he can sometimes forget how to hold the bat but denies there is anything currently untoward in his game.
"I don't feel too bad. It would have been nice to get among the runs in this series. I was a bit disappointed with my performances but that's the game of cricket, it doesn't always work out," Smith said.
"For me it's about turning it around now and making sure I get among the runs in the Test series.
"I'm feeling good and ready to go for this Test series."
After a summer of benign wickets at home, Australia's batsmen found life on the the pitches for the Chappell-Hadlee more challenging.
If not for Mitchell Marsh's heroics in game two, the world champions would have almost certainly have been trounced 3-0.
Black Caps captain Brendon McCullum is expecting the Test strips to be greener, offer more pace, bounce and sideways movement.
It will provide a stern examination of Australia's weakness against the moving ball, one which they failed dismally in the Ashes.
"We've been a little bit disappointing in this series, I think our batters haven't stepped up," Smith said.
"We've got a bit of work to do there, we have to find a way to be successful in these conditions.
"It's completely different to back home, I think the pace of the ball back home is quite consistent, you can play in front of yourself a bit more.
"In these conditions I don't think you'll be able to do that so guys will have to adapt accordingly and hopefully the guys have the game to be successful over here."
The absence of a tour game is not ideal to Australia's Test preparations. Chairman of selectors Rod Marsh labelled the recent programming "ridiculous" but said it was a case of mind over matter to re-adjust to the longer format, a view shared by Smith.
"Going from one-day cricket to Test cricket now guys have got a lot more time to spend out in the middle, so it's about reining it in and making sure we have our defence in order for what we're likely to come up against," Smith said.
"I think it's part and parcel of the game these days and you've got to adapt."
Tempers were frayed in the Chappell-Hadlee decider on Monday night after Marsh's controversial dismissal but Smith said relations between both sides had not been soured.
"We both play a good, hard aggressive brand of cricket, an exciting brand, it's going to be a tough series," Smith said.
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