A big score for struggling New Zealand captain Kane Williamson is only just around the corner, insists head coach Gary Stead.
New Zealand have already lost their three-match ODI series in Australia going into Sunday's final encounter, with the hosts having won the first two contests.
Australia won an entertaining opener by two wickets before New Zealand were skittled for just 82 in a miserable second ODI for the Black Caps.
Williamson has been out of form for a while – his last international century was his incredible 238 in a Test match against Pakistan in January 2021, while he last hit three figures in white-ball cricket back in June 2019 in an ODI against West Indies.
Stead believes Williamson is being judged slightly unfairly, as his form was unsustainably good before he suffered an elbow injury, and is convinced the New Zealand skipper will soon get back to something close to his best.
"It's always difficult when you have had such a prolific run-scorer as what Kane has been," Stead said.
"I think what everyone remembers is immediately before his elbow injury, when he was in the richest vein of form that perhaps some players have ever been in.
"Kane is one of the hardest workers I have seen on his game and he continues to be.
"A big score is around the corner. Kane is a very, very consistent trainer. Regardless of if he is scoring runs or not, he appears to me to train the same way."
Australia have won their last four ODIs against New Zealand, their longest winning run since a five-game streak that concluded in 2007.
And a victory in the third ODI would give Australia a 10th straight home win against the Black Caps, with their current nine-match run at home already their best ever.
New Zealand have not won an ODI in Australia since 2009, but amid the team's woe, Stead also backed Williamson's credentials as captain.
Williamson was criticised for taking Trent Boult out of the attack at a key stage in the first ODI and has faced questions over his future in the role, talk not helped by deputy Tom Latham's huge success in ODIs where the regular skipper has been missing.
Stead added: "You are always reflecting on how we go about it and what we might do differently. We all make mistakes from time to time.
"Who knows what's right anyway? That's the tough thing about the game of cricket. One decision you make will work one day and the next day it won't.
"You try to put odds in your favour at any given moment. If you go through and dissect every ball, you'll find something to talk about.
"That's the decision of the leaders who are out in the middle and we know as a matter of fact that the bowler can bowl only 10 overs.
"So it is up to Kane and the other guys who are out there to work out when is the right time and what looks right then."
Australia skipper Aaron Finch will be playing his last ODI on Sunday after announcing his retirement from the 50-over format.