New Zealand v South Africa, 2nd Test, HamiltonProteas, Black Caps Fancy Their Chances in Hamilton14-Mar-2012 06:43:00 GMT
Hamilton: Both the South Africa and New Zealand fancy their chances in the second Test to be played in Hamilton begins on Thursday.
Neither New Zealand nor South Africa emerged from Dunedin with an advantage in the test series scorecard, and neither party is keen to concede a psychological edge ahead of the second test.
Having moved down the order, Brendon McCullum has taken on the key role of No.3 and appears to be enjoying it. He has shown his temperament can be suited to anchoring or being the aggressor. Having just come off a prolonged stint as captain during Ross Taylor's injury lay-off, McCullum has established his place as the senior statesman of the side, both on and off the field. If New Zealand are do to well, McCullum has to play a leading role.
Rookie Black Caps test wicketkeeper Kruger van Wyk said he believed New Zealand still had an opportunity to win the first test in Dunedin before rain ruled out play on the final day on Sunday, while South African quick bowler Vernon Philander thought his side were poised to go one up.
"Going into that last day, I'd say there was really a feeling of excitement. We fought very hard in those first four days and got ourselves into position where we thought that anything could happen on that last day, and there was a feeling of excitement going into it," van Wyk said in Hamilton yesterday.
Andrew Ellis, who could also bolster the batting, has the outside chance. Tarun Nethula, the legspinner who was also brought into the squad for this game, is unlikely to play.
Neutral observers would have put the Proteas in the box seat but New Zealand emerged relatively unscathed - bar swing bowler Tim Southee, who has been dropped from the second test squad after going wicketless in Dunedin.
Dale Steyn's lean patches are usually followed by destructive bursts. With more swing in the air than Dunedin and a pitch that looks like it could have something in it for the seamers, Steyn will have the conditions on his side in Hamilton.
"We obviously fancied our chances to take the wickets on the last day but rain had the last say, unfortunately. I think the game was evenly poised ... but I think we fancied our chances," Philander said.
Injury may keep AB de Villiers out of the side after he sprained his ankle during practice on Tuesday, though he tweeted that he 'should be ready'. JP Duminy and Robin Peterson both batted in the nets on Wednesday and should de Villiers be unfit
New Zealand LRPL Taylor (captain), BJ Arnel, TA Boult, DAJ Bracewell, AM Ellis, MR Gillespie, MJ Guptill, BB McCullum, CS Martin, TS Nethula, RJ Nicol, CFK van Wyk (wk), DL Vettori, KS Williamson
South Africa GC Smith (captain), AB de Villiers, HM Amla, MV Boucher (wk), M de Lange, JP Duminy, Imran Tahir, JH Kallis, M Morkel, AN Petersen, RJ Peterson, VD Philander, JA Rudolph, DW Steyn, LL Tsotsobe
Pitch and conditions
A green pitch greeted the eye two days before the match and it remained that way on the eve of the game. The grass will likely be cut the morning of the Test, before the sun has had the opportunity to bake the surface too much.
Stats and trivia
- New Zealand have their best winning record in the second Test of a series. They have won the second Test 22% of the time, compared with 19% for the first Test
- This ground has recent fond memories for South Africa - Richard Levi scored his record-breaking T20 century here last month
March 15-19, 2012
Start time 1030 local (2130 GMT prev day)