Cricket-Flower wants sharper England vs NZ -



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Cricket-Flower wants sharper England vs NZ
Defeat in a first-class warm up game for the first time in 7 years was far from the ideal preparation that England coach Andy Flower had in mind before his side begin their first Test match against the Black Caps this Tuesday evening [GMT].

Yet a three wicket loss to a New Zealand XI was exactly what the tourists endured with wicket keeper BJ Watling and Black Caps newcomer Neil Wagner providing the platform for their side's victory.

"It was a timely lesson that if you are slightly off your game you can lose to both Test and 'A' sides," Flower said.

"I hope to see us a lot sharper for the first Test."

England's bowling was flat and their batting insipid. Graham Onions in particular struggled with the ball being taken for 23 off two overs, while the majority of the top order were underwhelming.

"It was an excellent game of cricket, but it was not ideal losing it," Flower added.

"Some of the young New Zealand players played really well and I thought we were sloppy in some areas - poor with the ball in the first innings and there were a couple of soft dismissals.

The Zimbabwean suggested that his players would have liked more games to prepare for the Test series, and help shake off the ring rust, but said he expected an improved performance on Tuesday.

"There is a little rustiness that we have to work through. One warm-up game isn't ideal, but it is what we have been given.

Our guys have been on the road for almost four months now - those who have played all three forms of the game - and you cannot play constantly for 12 months."

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