When the rains washed out the fifth and the all-important decisive day at Dunedin, an intriguing contest between two teams fighting neck to neck was brought to a halt. The series now moves from Dunedin to the Basin Reserve in Wellington and the fight is set to continue from where it was discontinued. But, unfortunately, the hosts New Zealand will be without two of their most experienced names – Trent Boult and Ross Taylor. On the other hand, South Africa, who had a slight upper hand in the first game, will be fully prepared to exploit these weaknesses.
While the Blackcaps showed great resilience, the absence of two big stars certainly makes them the least favourites. The Wellington game will set the tone for the final match as it would decide which team will take the lead. Both the teams wouldn’t want to lose the match or settle for a draw.
Neil Broom will be given the responsibility of filling in the place of Taylor while Tim Southee, who was left out of the side, will make up for Boult’s absence. Jeetan Patel may also make his first Test appearance on his home ground. This leaves Santner in a spot of uncertainty as Williamson won’t be going with two spinners in any position on a greenish wicket. This, subsequently, makes a place for one seam bowling all-rounder; place both Colin de Grandhomme and Matt Henry will be contesting for.
The green deck at the Basin reserve has even made Faf du Plessis opine that he may opt for five bowlers after including an extra seamer. The visitors have plenty to cheer as far the options are concerned. Theunis de Bruyn, Duanne Olivier, Chris Morris and Wayne Parnell all in the squad. It is tough to make an opinion on who will make a cut in the XI but Parnell seems as the top choice with Test experience under his belt. His inclusion would mean one specialist batsman Temba Bavuma would have to sit out. The rest of the side will likely remain unchanged.
Tom Latham, Jeet Raval, Kane Williamson (C), Neil Broom, Henry Nicholls, James Neesham, BJ Watling (WK), Colin de Grandhomme/Matt Henry, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Jeetan Patel
Stephen Cook, Dean Elgar, Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis (C), JP Duminy, Quinton de Kock (WK), Temba Bavuma/ Wayne Parnell, Vernon Philander, Keshav Maharaj, Morne Morkel, Kagiso Rabada
The Match Begins At 3.30 Am Local Time
- Kane Williamson needs 63 runs for 5000 and also one century to equal Martin Crowe’s record of 17
- South Africa have won four of their six Tests at the Basin Reserve – two coming since readmission although 2012 was a draw
- The previous Test on this ground, against Bangladesh, saw New Zealand overhaul the biggest first-innings score to secure victory – 595 for 8 dec.
Who Said What?:
“With the weather, they have had over the last week, it hasn’t been ideal. There might be a little bit to offer with the surface early on but it tends to be a good cricket wicket,” Tim Southee.
“He’s a fantastic bowler and a huge loss for them. But anyone who plays international cricket is dangerous so I assume someone like Matt Henry [will come in] and Tim Southee didn’t play the previous game is a high-quality bowler. They’ve still got enough resources,” Faf du Plessis.