With a disappointing draw in the books after an exciting four days of action, both New Zealand and South Africa will be aiming to take the series lead as the sides move to Wellington. Join The Roar for live scores of Day 1 from 9am (AEDT).
It was tough to get a read on the first Test in Wellington, with the pitch playing low and slow but keeping the two teams level throughout the four days of action.
Unfortunately, the match fizzled out to a draw with the end of Day 4 and all of Day 5 lost to bad light and rain respectively, keeping the three-match series tied at 0-0 with two matches to go.
It puts a mountain of pressure on this match, particularly for New Zealand who must win the series to gain the trophy after losing the series played during the winter in South Africa. A win for the Proteas would give them at worst a 1-1 drawn series and retention of the trophy.
On home soil, that’s the last thing the Kiwis wanted, but with a chance of rain on the third and fourth days, it might not matter anyway. Another draw here would set up a one-match shootout for the series in Hamilton.
In Dunedin for the first match, the Kiwis sent the tourists into bat and immediately found themselves on top, with South Africa three wickets down inside the first hour. Dean Elgar led the recovery effort, scoring 140 of the Proteas’ 308.
New Zealand took a first-innings lead in return, with Kane Williamson scoring a big century to lead the way, but it came at a cost. Ross Taylor had to retire hurt and will now miss at least this match.
Without him, there is a big hole in the Kiwi batting order, and without their bowlers doing a job, they will struggle to have enough runs on the board.
South Africa were 6 for 224 and leading by 191 when play was called off, but already being six wickets down things were set up for a tantalising fifth day.
On paper, South Africa have the stronger side and while it’s hard to say they were dominating the first Test, they would have had the chance to had they not collapsed to get things going.
Elgar’s form is the factor that tips the balance in favour of the tourists and they go in as favourites, provided there is no masterclass from Kane Williamson.
South Africa to win and retain the trophy.
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