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New Zealand South Africa Mike Hesson

New Zealand head coach Mike Hesson said the experience of facing South Africa away from home can only improve the Black Caps.

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Mike Hesson said the lessons New Zealand learned from a Test series defeat in South Africa will be "invaluable" as they attempt to make further strides in the longest format of the game.

Dale Steyn ripped through the Black Caps at Centurion on day five, taking 5-33 as the tourists were bowled out for 195 to suffer a 204-run defeat and a 1-0 series loss.

New Zealand must now turn their attention to taking on India in two Tests in September before coming up against a Pakistan side who moved to the top of the world rankings for the first time after drawing 2-2 in England.

Black Caps head coach Hesson thinks the defeat against the Proteas can be key to his side's development in Test cricket.

Asked about the prospect of facing India and Pakistan, he said: "It sounds quite daunting, doesn't it?

"Every country is challenged to try and win away from home but a big part [of improving] is getting experiences into players,

"For the guys that will be a big part of our future, the experiences will be invaluable. We can't replicate that at home.

"In first-class cricket, they don't come across on a wicket like that [for the second Test against South Africa] and they don't face bowlers like that. That's important for us."

Henry Nicholls made a Test-best 76 against South Africa in the second innings after scoring 36 in his first knock and Hesson expects the 24-year-old to kick on.

He said: "Henry is a man of very good character. Starting his Test career against Australia was a tough challenge and he is still learning his trade,

"The experience he got here, against this quality of opposition, shows he has got a nice future for us."

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