South Africa and New Zealand will get another crack at each other when they square off at SuperSport park Centurion.
Following the farce that was the first Test in Durban, South Africa and New Zealand will go head to head – hopefully for the full five days – in the second Test at SuperSport Park Centurion.
While the situation at Kingsmead left a bit of a sour taste in the mouth, there’s no point in dwelling on it when we’re set for a cracking spectacle on the Highveld! Let’s check it out below:
South Africa vs New Zealand | 27 August – 31 August | SuperSport Park Centurion | Pretoria
To Win Match
South Africa 9/10 | Draw 5/2 | New Zealand 26/10
I’m not quite sure what to make of the Proteas’ performance in the day or so of play we got at Kingsmead. While the batting performance left much to be desired, the bowling performances of both Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander left South African fans purring with delight.
Let’s focus on the batting first, though. Before we get into it, it’s worth mentioning that prior to the Durban Test, the Proteas hadn’t been involved in five-day action for close on seven months. The rustiness showed with everyone in the top and middle order – with the exception of JP Duminy – got starts. Most damning, however, was the fact that only Hashim Amla managed to get a half-century.
While most of the wickets that fell on day one of the first Test were down to some excellent bowling by the New Zealand seamers; Dean Elgar, JP Duminy and Quinton de Kock all gave away their wickets quite cheaply. Elgar’s dismissal was particularly frustrating as I rate him quite highly. He drove wildly at a ball outside the off stump, nicking off before Martin Guptill took a simple enough catch in the cordon.
Another player who the South African public will be less than happy with will be Duminy. The all-rounder has seen his stock in the Test arena decline rapidly over the last few years. The left-handed batsman hasn’t managed a half-century in his last ten completed Test innings, and his ability with the ball in hand simply isn’t enough to keep him in the side – perhaps Stiaan van Zyl or Wayne Parnell could do a job here instead? We’ll have to wait on the team announcement to find out.
I was bitterly disappointed not to see more of Steyn and Philander at Kingsmead. The duo were all over the New Zealand batsmen with Steyn, in particular, swinging the ball a mile in the damp, overcast conditions in Durban. I have no doubt that this South African side – with its full complement of bowlers – can overcome just about any Test side on the planet. Steyn and Philander provide the control and guile while Kagiso Rabada and Morne Morkel deliver the in your face sort of stuff that leaves opposition batsmen trapped on the back foot.
The Proteas are usually very good at SuperSport Park Centurion. 22 Tests have been played at the venue to date with South Africa winning 18 of those, drawing three and losing two. It’s one of the quicker wickets in South Africa which will suit Faf du Plessis and his men down to the bones. Expect the likes of Rabada, Steyn and Philander to dominate.
The Black Caps would have been desperate to play the full five days at Kingsmead. Mike Hesson would have known all too well that the South Africans have turned SuperSport Park Centurion in to something of a fortress over the last 20 years. The same can’t be said of Kingsmead where the hosts generally struggle.
There will be real concerns around the opening pair who looked as vulnerable as anything against the skill and cunning of Steyn and Philander. Both Guptill and Tom Latham fell in consecutive Steyn overs before the rain came down on day two.
Tim Southee and Trent Boult will need to be at their very best in order to deal with the threat that the South African batsmen pose on the Centurion deck. The likes of Cook, Elgar, du Plessis, Temba Bavuma and de Kock all play their first class cricket at either the Titans or the Lions and will know exactly what to expect of conditions in the Highveld.
It’ll also be interesting to see how the New Zealand batsman get on. While they struggled against the reverse swing that Steyn was generating at Kingsmead, I doubt he’ll be able to recreate that sort of movement on the Highveld. They will face a different sort of test where the ball will come on to the bat a lot quicker. While guys like Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor – two of the planet’s premier Test batsmen – won’t mind this too much, some of the other guys may struggle with the pace generated by Rabada.
Conditions in New Zealand (and Kingsmead) are generally more conducive to swing bowling. The Highveld decks tend to behave a lot more like Australian wickets where the ball flies through to the ‘keeper. It’s no secret that the Black Caps generally don’t do well when they take on their Trans-Tasman neighbours away from home in the longest format of the game – we’re likely to see more of the same in Pretoria.
Verdict: South Africa 9/10
Assuming we actually get a full five days in – which looks likely according to local weather reports – the South Africans should be too good for the Black Caps in Pretoria. The conditions suit the hosts’ skillset perfectly and they’re good value at 9/10 to claim the win.
Value Bet: Stephen Cook to top score for South Africa (1st inn) at 9/2
Cook is a quality player and he’ll be dead keen on batting in conditions that he’s grown up with. With the lack of swing that’s likely to be on offer, he shouldn’t have to weather the early Boult / Southee storm. Small to medium stake on Cook to top score fo the Proteas at 9/2.
Written by Jason Dewey for @Hollywoodbets.