A washed out first test in Dunedin means that both teams will start fresh from a series point of view, two matches that requires back-to-back wins to claim the series.
Despite the match being abandoned, New Zealand had plenty of positives to come out of the first test with Trent Boult proving damaging with the ball yet again on home soil and Kane Williamson producing another spectacular century for the Black Caps in the first innings. New Zealand have gone in with batting-depth in this series, one could only imagine to counter attack South Africa’s lethal bowling attack that tore shreds of the Australians last year. Opener Tom Latham continues to struggle at the top of the order, he’s in a rough form slump at the moment which isn’t what the selectors want to hear, but that’s the reality of the situation. With Martin Guptill not in the squad, 22-year-old Jeet Raval gets his opportunity and he’s already impressed in the series with a half-century in Dunedin. The loss of Ross Taylor is huge, the No. 4 batsman has been ruled out of the second test with a calf strain. Trent Boult has also been ruled out with a hip injury after bowling 32 overs in the first innings followed by 15 in the second, adding further concerns to the home sides makeup for the second test. With the Black Caps without both Taylor and Boult, the Proteas may just have the upper hand in the remainder of the series.
Back-to-back fifties for Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis trumped by a man of the match performance from Dean Elgar who scored 140 & 89 in both innings had the match set up nicely before the rain came along. Unlike Elgar, his fellow opening partner Stephen Cook looked extremely hesitant and clearly struggled with the conditions as he was knocked over cheaply in both innings, Hashim Amla is also becoming a concern at N0. 3, never thought I’d be saying that in this lifetime. Faf’s move down to No. 5 gives South Africa some batting stability, Quinton de Kock remains a huge threat batting at No. 7 as a keeper-batsmen who can score at an alarming rate once he gets set. Their bowling structure remains solid, Rabada, Philander and Morkel form the seam department with Chris Morris and Wayne Parnell on standby, Keshav Maharaj is playing as the specialist spinner in the series with a five-wicket haul already alongside his name in the series. A green pitch could make things very interesting, but it certainly wouldn’t be a doctored plan from New Zealand ground staff given that Wellington has had quite a bit of rain over the past week which is unavoidable. If it is a green and lush deck, Vernon Philander and Kagiso Rabada could be a nightmare to cope with throughout the test.
New Zealand’s top 5 key players | 2nd test | Wellington
- Kane Williamson
- Neil Wagner
- Neil Broom
- Jeetan Patel
- Tom Latham
South Africa’s top 5 key players | 2nd test | Wellington
- Vernon Philander
- Dean Elgar
- Faf du Plessis
- Kagiso Rabada
- Hashim Amla
Team News | New Zealand
The big news in the Black Caps camp is that Ross Taylor and Trent Boult have both been ruled out of the second test with injures. Neil Broom is expected to replace Taylor in the middle-order, while one of Matt Henry and Tim Southee could be fighting it out for a spot in the absence of Boult who is New Zealand’s number one seamer.
New Zealand (possible) – 1. Tom Latham 2. Jeet Raval 3. Kane Williamson (c) 4. Henry Nicholls 5. Neil Broom 6. James Neesham 7. BJ Watling (wk) 8. Jeetan Patel 9. Mitchell Santner 10. Neil Wagner 11. Matt Henry/Tim Southee.
Team News | South Africa
South Africa are expected to take an unchanged XI to Wellington.
South Africa (possible) – 1. Stephen Cook 2. Dean Elgar 3. Hashim Amla 4. JP Duminy 5. Faf du Plessis (c) 6. Temba Bavuma 7. Quinton de Kock (wk) 8. Vernon Philander 9. Keshav Maharaj 10. Kagiso Rabada 11. Morne Morkel.
Zak Varik is an Australian columnist/writer who specializes in the sports category cricket. With over four years of experience covering all sorts of cricket tournaments around the world, Zak has gained extensive knowledge in International cricket as well as domestic.
“I’ve loved watching cricket since I was about 7 years old, my childhood hero was none other than Andrew “Roy” Symonds who probably enhanced my love of the game through the years”.
Zak is now an established writer for FCN (Fantasy Cricket News) and has also previously represented other Blogs during his time as a writer.