Wellington - The Black Caps can claim a moral victory in the drawn first Test against England but must maintain consistency to confirm their re-emergence in the Test arena, New Zealand media said on Monday.
New Zealand went into the Test in Dunedin as underdogs after being thrashed in their last series in South Africa, but dominated England in the opening stages, skittling them for 167 and taking a 293-run first innings lead.
"New Zealand can consider themselves moral victors," the New Zealand Herald said after the Black Caps ran out of time pressing for a win in a match where more than a day's play was lost to bad weather.
"The world's eighth-ranked team exceeded expectations by dominating more than they were dominated against the second-best team. The onus goes on them to sustain that form when the second Test starts in Wellington on Thursday."
The Dominion Post agreed it was "a points victory" for the New Zealanders but warned that England, who have been notoriously slow starters in Test series since 2005, would be a more formidable prospect in Wellington.
The newspaper hailed the performance, though, recalling the tour to South Africa when the Black Caps lost both Tests by an innings and managed only 45 runs in the first innings of the opening Test, sparking fears of a whitewash for England.
"After a year of woe on the road, this is what it felt like to be a real Test team," it said after the Dunedin draw.
"Now comes the acid test."