Uphill task for New Zealand

2013-01-03 09:26

New Zealand 45 (Williamson 13, Philander 5/7) South Africa 252/3 (Petersen 103*, Amla 66, Kallis 63, Franklin 1/23, Boult 1/53)

South Africa leads by 207 runs

New Zealand has their work cut out for them today as they attempt to contain South Africa’s monstrous 207-run lead after the first day’s play. And, this on a pitch that looks to become better as the match progresses.

It will be all toil.

No Test side worth its salt should be dismissed for less than 300, but on a Newlands that looked rather deceiving, New Zealand were shot out for 255 less than that. It was a session of madness that most probably has lost them the Test match.

Their batting was always going to be under scrutiny considering the absence of Ross Taylor and Jesse Ryder, but it hard to fathom whether they would have been able to stem the rot that set in. Shot selection and patience wasn’t the issue as Martin Guptill, Dean Brownlie and BJ Watling were recipients of deliveries that would have got most batsmen out.

It was the lack of application and technique against the moving ball that led to their downfall and will have to be rectified come the second innings.

As deficient as New Zealand’s attack may be compared to South Africa’s, they were taught how to make the ball talk. In the end, it seemed like the teams were playing on different tracks.

There were starts by Jacques Kallis and Hashim Amla that should have been converted but the immediate objective of batting New Zealand out of the game was set into motion. It was most remorseless stuff, especially by Alviro Petersen, whose love affair with Newlands continued, scoring his second Test century at the ground.

To bat again, the Black Caps would need to bowl well, which they did in patches without much reward, and the fielding needs to be kicked up a notch.

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