One has to admit that this was New Zealand’s best chance to beat South Africa in a Test series at home. The Black Caps came close to doing so in the first Test, before the game was ultimately drawn. In the second Test, at one point it seemed the hosts would get a first innings lead in excess of 100, before Quinton de Kock and Temba Bavuma put up a spirited partnership to turn the game on its head.
However, the most disappointing aspect about New Zealand has been their batting by far. To compound matters even more, they’ve particularly struggled against the gentle slow left-arm spin of Keshav Maharaj. He single handedly decimated South Africa in the previous Test as he bagged a five-wicket haul in the second innings.
With just one Test to go, it can be said their host batsmen are under tremendous pressure.
“They don’t give you many bad balls and you have to work hard for your runs,” said opener Jeet Raval.
“It’s about being strong in your game plans and sticking to it for long periods of time. Then you know the rewards will come later on in your innings. Sometimes you are forced to go for a period of time without scoring runs and that’s what international cricket is about.
“I don’t think we need to change a whole lot of game plans, it’s about being better for longer periods of time,” he said. “We showed in the first Tests and bits of the second Test that we are good enough. We just need to be good enough for longer periods of time and we’ll be able to square the series,” the opener added.
On the other hand, South Africa’s pace spearhead Vernon Philander lauded Maharaj for his fine outing.
“There’s always going to be different bowlers that shine in different Tests,”Philander said.
“The way Keshav (Maharaj) has come out and bowled has been phenomenal. The wickets are a touch on the slower side so it is a bit of an adjustment for us as seam bowlers.”