New Zealand puts up a fight

2013-01-11 15:56

South Africa 191/3 (Amla 69*, Smith 54, Petersen 21, Bracewell 2/44, Wagner 1/50)

New Zealand battled back in the post lunch session of the second Test against South Africa while overzealous shot making let the Proteas down.

While New Zealand’s bowling attack may not be seen as the best in the world, they do deserve some respect.

Graeme Smith’s shot-making attitude towards them suggested otherwise, latching onto the sparse loose offerings. Neil Wagner had been impressive throughout the first session and not at any stage did he seem cowed by his superiors from the country of his birth.

The ball that got Smith out was unremarkable, but it was similar to the one that Stuart Broad used to get Smith out in Centurion in 2009: leg side strangulation.

It ended a threatening 92-run stand which consumed only 126 balls. It was not on the Perth scale but it had the ability of taking the game away from New Zealand.

The disdain with which the New Zealand bowling seemed to be treated did not look like it would end with Jacques Kallis, whose first scoring shot was an imperious one-leg pull to the midwicket fence, an indication of the slowness of the pitch.

It was followed by a crunching hook to deep square-leg but, as with most cricket floggings, it was the bowler who has the last laugh. Doug Bracewell did laugh best, with Kallis feathering his half-volley behind to BJ Watling.

The prize wicket is that of Hashim Amla.

He survived a tough, but catchable, life on 49 when Brendon McCullum could not cling on to a difficult chance off Trent Boult.

He reached his 92-ball 50 with his seventh boundary, a glide down to third man. His unobtrusive 54-run stand with AB de Villiers could blossom into bigger things, but then there’s the knack of throwing away starts and New Zealand’s attack that shows no sign of letting up, despite their limitations.

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