New Zealand’s 2-0 series defeat on home pitches by Australia was a disappointing end to the Brendon McCullum era and showed the Black Caps have work to do if they hope to consistently challenge the top Test nations.Captain McCullum bowed out of international cricket fittingly with the fastest Test century in his final match, but was powerless to prevent his side from slumping to another defeat in Christchurch on Wednesday.The post-McCullum era begins in earnest at the World Twenty20 in India next month, with Kane Williamson to take the reins, but New Zealand will not be able to measure themselves against a Test power until touring South Africa in a two-match series in August.Australia’s win, which ended the hosts’ unbeaten run in home Test series dating back to 2012, highlighted a number of shortcomings. Chief among them was a lack of penetration with the ball. Also read: Brendon McCullum looks forward to do nothing after retirement Opening pair Tim Southee and Trent Boult, lauded as one of the best pace duos in the world, had poor returns. Southee failed to get any swing or seam and took just three wickets at 67.33, more than twice his career average of 32.12.With his pace also down, McCullum said the bowler had work to do.”There’s other guys coming through who are performing very well and it’s going to push Tim to make sure he’s operating at his best which we saw for a good 12-18 months,” McCullum said.”He’s got some challenges but I still believe he’s a strong leader in the group and he’s just got to smooth out some of his rough edges.”advertisementBoult also failed to generate anywhere near the pace of 12 months ago, while extracting little appreciable swing. He took five wickets at 53.80. Coach Mike Hesson felt his bowlers had the worst of the pitch and conditions but also lamented their failure to get reverse swing with the older ball.Offspinner Mark Craig was hit out of the side by Australia’s batsmen, with two wickets for 153 runs in the first test at Wellington’s Basin Reserve. New Zealand’s top order struggled compared to their opponents and is set for a shake-up, with Henry Nicholls likely to fill McCullum’s spot at number five after a handy first series at four.Tom Latham showed flashes of his potential but failed to cash in with big scores after setting platforms in both Tests. Martin Guptill, however, scored just 81 runs in his four innings, renewing doubts of his credentials as a viable Test opener.The 29-year-old still has issues with the moving ball but Hesson said he remained a work in progress in tests and there were no plans to drop him down the order.”Martin still hasn’t quite nailed it at test level but again we think he has some good qualities,” Hesson said.Those problems aside, McCullum felt he had left the team and its culture in good hands, with Kane Williamson almost certain to replace him as test captain.”If there’s one criticism of us, we’ve probably been a little bit inconsistent with flashes of brilliance,” he said.”The next stage for this team is to reach a high performing level on a consistent basis.”
LAS VEGAS — Following every New Year’s since 1998, new gadgets and technologies have taken center stage in Las Vegas at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). This year is no different.In my experience as a digital media professor and a startup founder who has attended the past 10 CES events, I usually discover a handful of new devices and services that make running a startup a little easier, faster or more efficient. Here’s my roundup of this year’s must have tech for entrepreneurs unveiled at CES:1. Sleek laptop chargers to lighten your load.For the entrepreneur who is constantly running from meeting to meeting, there are ultra light laptop chargers from FINsix and Zolt designed to replace the bulky, heavy brick charging box that came with your laptop. These chargers will lighten your load and make room for a few extra business plans.Dart ChargerImage credit: FinsixFINsix’s Dart will retail for $89 and Zolt will retail for $99. Both are currently available for pre-order and are expected to be available later this year.Related: The 14 Most Exciting New Tech Products That Will Launch in 20152. Never lose a number with this smart pen.Taking notes by pen is often the fastest, easiest way to jot down ideas when they come to you, but it can be a real time drain to digitize them. Even worse, you can misplace that one crucial phone number or email address. Enter the Livescribe 3 Smartpen, which turns your iOS and some Android devices (as of CES 2015) into a true digital Bluetooth notebook by recording written and audio notes through its Livescribe+ app.The Livescribe 3 Smartpen retails for $149.95 and is currently available on the company’s web store.3. A solution to that MacBook charger problem.MacBook chargers go anywhere a MacBook goes and in the case of entrepreneurs, that’s just about everywhere. Wound up and unwound over and over, MacBook chargers can fray at the point where the cord exits the charger body. I personally have had to replace two chargers from fray failure in the last year and was thrilled to discover a startup out of Ohio that solved this problem through an innovative MacBook charger case called JuiceBoxx.JuiceboxxImage credit: JuiceboxxThe JuiceBoxx case slides nicely over a MacBook charger and completely prevents the cord from bending at greater than 90 degrees from the base of the charger, effectively saving your cord from fraying. JuiceBoxx will be available later this year and can be pre-ordered for $19.99 from the company’s web store.Related: LG Is Betting Big on Innovations That Haven’t Caught On – Yet4. Scan those pesky receipts.Running a business is hard enough — keeping track of receipts makes it all the more challenging. The Neat Company, which makes smart organization systems, has a product called NeatConnect that scans receipts into digital files, extracts relevant tax information, categorizes expenses and sends the data by email or uploads it to any number of cloud services.NeatConnect does not require a computer connection, has apps for both Android and iOS devices and is currently available for $499.95 through the company’s website.5. This board does the work for you.Commute to work in style on a ZBoard 2 electric skateboard. The ZBoard 2 is a motorized skateboard with a range of 16 miles that can get you to the office at speeds up to 20 MPH. Complete with a front headlight and rear taillight, the ZBoard 2 goes up hills and has a breaking system that is triggered by leaning back.The ZBoard 2 is currently available for pre-order through the ZBoard website starting at $899 and will be available later this year.ZBoardImage credit: ZBoard via FacebookRelated: This Simple Bracelet Can Turn Your Arm Into an Interactive Smartphone Display 4 min read Enroll Now for Free Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now January 8, 2015 This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience.