New Zealand’s performance in South Africa is getting, well, a bit silly. They were embarrassed in the first innings; they did slightly better in the second – but the scorecard still makes them seem clueless. The Proteas need just six wickets for another innings victory, which will complete their apparently effortless whitewash on home soil. By ANT SIMS.
SA vs. New Zealand – Day 3 results summary
NZ 121, 157/4; 67.0 ovs
RSA 525/ 8 decl
CRR 2.34; Partnership 73 (164); Last wkt D Flynn 0(1)
Last 10 overs
South Africa doesn’t really have the room to rejoice in beating New Zealand; watching the two teams compete is like watching a horse race a poodle. The Black Caps are ranked eighth while the Proteas are comfortable at the top – and the discrepancy between the two teams is obvious.
To make matters worse for New Zealand, the team is playing a Test series without some of their star players, in unfamiliar conditions. South Africa, on the other hand, has some of the best players in the world in its line-up, and has gone unbeaten for over 12 months.
The Proteas’ unforgiving dominance reared its head in the second Test against New Zealand. The batsmen piled on the runs on the first day in Port Elizabeth, with Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis and even Dean Elgar notching up hundreds to take South Africa to 525 before declaring.
And that’s where the Kiwi disaster began. New Zealand stuttered to 62-9, with their second batting catastrophe in less than two weeks. The Black Caps were as poor as the Proteas were powerful and clinical.
The teams could just as well have been batting on different pitches. Achievements simply seemed too easy for the South African bowlers. Dale Steyn picked up his 19th five-wicket haul in Test cricket, Robin Peterson exploited the footmarks, Rory Kleinveldt bowled so bamboozling beautifully that his debut in Australia was almost forgotten, and Morne Morkel, the workhorse, plundered along with some solid bowling.
And so, as expected, New Zealand’s first innings came to a sad end as they were all out for 121, with just BJ Watling managing to put a score of significance on the board, notching up 63 off 83 while nobody else managed more than 17.
Watling has been one of the lone rangers in the New Zealand fight-back crusade. He scored 43 in his second innings in Cape Town when New Zealand folded to 45 all out, but South Africa’s bowlers were ruthless.
Still, the-27-year old claims he was in his element.
“There’s no place I’d rather be. Being out there, against the best – that’s how you learn; that’s how you get better,” said Watling.
South Africa enforced the follow-on and immediately got stuck in again, taking two early wickets while Martin Guptill finally managed to take some runs, scoring 48 before being dismissed by Kleinveldt. The hosts managed four wickets before stumps on the third day, but Watling will be back out in the middle on Monday morning, resuming on an unbeaten 41 with Dean Brownlie, the centurion of the Cape Town Test, unbeaten at the other end.
Watling’s resilience has been a revelation, and Steyn agreed that bowling to him had been far trickier than to rest of the New Zealand batsmen.
“He’s a good player; he doesn’t want to give his wicket away, that’s for sure. He’s a typical wicketkeeper and reminds me a bit of somebody like Mark Boucher. You know, they’re just stubborn, short, [they] stick around – they all seem to be the same. He played well and it’s been impressive to bowl against him. He just ducks under the short ball and I’ve almost wasted my energy bowling against him.”
South Africa now stands on the verge of a whitewash, one which was expected of them before the series even started. One which they were expected to muster up even if they all had one hand tied behind their backs and were forced to ride around on Segways.
With a 247 run lead in the bag and just six wickets needed to complete another innings victory, there’s no doubt the bowlers will be baying for blood come day four.
Robin Peterson has looked impressive on a surface which is starting to wear, and while he’s only recently returned to the Test set-up and hardly played a part in Cape Town, Peterson’s role in the Test team has now seemingly been cemented, with Imran Tahir having fallen by the wayside.
“He hasn’t had a lot of opportunities to play in this Test side, but every time he has he has taken [the chance offered]… He’s worked really hard to make it back and he has seriously stepped up to the plate,” said Steyn.
South Africa’s pace ace got quite a bit of movement all throughout the day, and he’ll be hoping for more of the same on the fourth morning. There is some rain forecast for Monday and if the clouds do linger, it will only aid the bowlers.
“The ball is getting quite old now, so hopefully we can knock a few wickets over with the old ball in the morning, but we’re not far away from the new ball,” said Steyn.
Just 13 overs stand between the New Zealand batsmen facing a peppering with a new cherry, and just six wickets between them and utter humiliation.
South Africa, unfortunately for the Black Caps, wouldn’t want it any other way. DM
Photo: South Africa’s Graeme Smith, Dean Elgar, Robin Petersen, Faf du Plessis and Rory Kleinveldt celebrate the wicket of New Zealand’s Daniel Flynn (not in picture) on day three of the second cricket test match in Port Elizabeth, January 13, 2013. REUTERS/Rogan Ward
"Take a chance, won't you? Knock down the fences which divide. Tear apart the walls that imprison you. Reach out. Freedom lies just on the other side." ~ Thurgood Marshall