New Zealand v South Africa – First Test, Bet Preview
Venue: Hagley Oval, Christchurch
Date: Friday, 25 February
New Zealand – 5/10
South Africa – 3/1
New Zealand, who were ruthless in the first match that lasted for seven sessions, will have their tails up and approach the final Test in prime position to claim a first Test series win against South Africa.
New Zealand comprehensively thrashed the Proteas by an innings and 276 runs in the series-opener last weekend and coach Gary Stead and captain Tom Latham will be expecting more of the same.
South Africa, who were a shadow of the side that impressively beat India 2-1 at home in January, will be going all out get tie the series 1-1 and avoid a whitewash and losing more ICC Test Championship points.
The Proteas will have to improve in all facets of their game as they scored only 206 runs in two innings, the bowlers lacked intensity as New Zealand were bowled out having scored 482 and they dropped four catches.
The Black Caps have named an unchanged 15-man squad for the second Test match against South Africa at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch starting on Friday.
In announcing the squad, New Zealand coach Gary Stead explained that seam bowling spearhead Trent Boult, who missed the first Test for the birth of his third child, was not ready to rejoin the team for the second match.
Boult’s continued absence means paceman Matt Henry is almost guaranteed to have another chance after his nine-wicket haul in the first Test, which included career-best innings figures of 7-23.
Despite the obvious issue of players having to improve in their batting, bowling and fielding, the big decision facing the South African think tank is what they are going to do with Aiden Markram.
In the first match, Markam was moved to number three in a bid to release pressure on him but he continued to struggled and it remains to be seen if he will be dropped for Ryan Rickelton.
Lungi Ngidi has been ruled out as he has not sufficiently recovered from a back injury and it means the bowling unit is likely to stay the same.
The pitch at the Hagley Oval is expected to allow for good stroke play where batters will find it easier to bat on the surface. The surface will not allow a lot of assistance to the bowlers and wicket taking is going to be difficult.