Green grass of New Zealand delights SA
WELLINGTON: After four days of rain the covers were peeled off the Basin Reserve wicket yesterday and to South Africa’s delight it was green ahead of the second Test against New Zealand.
The greener the better in Wellington has been New Zealand’s mantra in the past.
But their tone has been softened for the second Test starting tomorrow, given the ruthlessness of South Africa’s pace trio Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada and Morne Morkel.
New Zealand’s situation is not helped by the loss of batsman Ross Taylor and injury concerns surrounding fast bowler Trent Boult who has until Wednesday evening to prove his fitness.
“I don’t think ideally we want to play South Africa on a seamer friendly surface,” said coach Mike Hesson, who was satisfied with the efforts of his twin-spin attack in the first Test where New Zealand had a chance until rain ensured a frustrating draw on the final day.
South African captain Faf du Plessis, however, could barely contain his excitement at the state of the wicket and New Zealand’s injury woes.
“We’ve been surprised. New Zealand conditions have changed since we were last here,” he said, with South Africa confirming they were bringing in an exta spinner — Dane Piedt — for the third Test in Hamilton next week.
But with the Basin Reserve having it’s traditional green cover, du Plessis said his seamers were looking forward to the second Test.
The loss of Taylor means captain Kane Williamson is New Zealand’s sole batting figurehead.
“If we get through him we can put some real pressure on their batters,” added du Plessis.
The captain who wins the toss is expected to bowl which puts the odds in South Africa’s favour after they called correctly in all five one-day internationals and the first Test.
New Zealand have replaced the injured Taylor with 33-year-old Neil Broom who did not have the happiest time in the one-day series against South Africa. AFP