With 11 sessions getting called off due to a wet and unfit-to-play outfield at Durban, the second test of the series at Centurion now becomes a winner-takes-it-all game.
The first match was interrupted by rain on the second day and the play never resumed thereafter. Even after the showers stopped, poor quality of outfield didn’t allow the game to happen.
South African bowlers, Dale Steyn in particular, was fierce during the few overs that were bowled. The batsmen, however, did not put up a performance that was expected out of them. They batted for 87 overs and were bowled out for 263. No one apart from Hashim Amla was able to bat out for a long innings. In the absence of AB de Villiers, the lineup does look a little worn out, but this is a perfect opportunity for the new faces to show the world their capabilities.
The Kiwi bowlers troubled the South African batsmen to quite an extent with unexpected bouncers here and there, followed an excellent spell of spin bowling by Mitchell Santner. The batting, however, will have to improve. Steyn and Philander proved to be lethal and their openers’ weakness towards the quicker deliveries swinging both ways was clearly seen during the few overs they batted.
Returning to international cricket after a long gap, he still is one of the most dangerous fast bowlers in the world. His figures of 6-4-3-2 proved it to everyone. He bowled fast and he swung the ball well, a combination even the best of the batsmen will have trouble dealing with.
He can lure the batsmen into playing the shots he wants them to play. With overcast conditions expected even at Centurion, Steyn is someone that the Kiwis will need to have plan B for.
Hashim Amla is the most experienced batsman in the side. He is now the backbone of a relatively inexperienced side and the younger batsmen will look up to him and Faf du Plessis during the tough times.
Amla will have to get through these times and continue his form from Durban. In ABD’s absence the Proteas will look up to Amla to guide them to a victory in the second test match.
After the retirement of Brendon McCullum, Ross Taylor is the most experienced player in this side. He has been in quite good form of late, with two consecutive centuries against Zimbabwe.
Taylor, along with skipper Kane Williamson, will the pioneers for the New Zealand team on this tour. With NZ batting disappointing in the last game, Taylor and co must deliver this time.
If Dale Steyn is the power of the Protean lineup, Boult is the same for New Zealand. Fast pitches and overcast conditions will provide him assistance. Boult’s spells will be crucial, especially with the new ball.
South Africa will have to play him out carefully. Boult has to lead the bowling attack which will look to impress just as they did in the first test match.
Proteas vs Kiwis – 2nd Test schedule
Date: 27th August, 2016 10:00 local (13:30 IST)
Venue: SuperSport Park, Centurion
South Africa: Hashim Amla, Stephen Cook, Faf du Plessis(capt), Dean Elgar, Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy, Dane Piedt, Kyle Abbott, Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada
New Zealand: Kane Williamson(capt), Martin Guptill, Henry Nicholls, Ross Taylor, BJ Watling, Mark Nicholls, Doug Bracewell, Mark Craig, Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner