Green grass of New Zealand de­lights SA

New Straits Times - - Sport -

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

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