Kiwis no match for ruthless Proteas
When the No 1 test team in the world comes up against the team ranked No 8 on home soil one expects a convincing victory for the top team. The result of the first test in Cape Town and the manner in which it came was not unexpected. The only surprise was the hapless Black Caps being dismissed for 45 in the first innings. This was due to a combination of excellent bowling and poor batting.
The way the Proteas went about dismantling and ultimately destroying New Zealand was impressive. The ruthless approach by the South African team was exactly what I expected from the best test team in the world. There was only one passage of play where the South African team lost concentration and that was during the last session on day two.
During that period they dropped a number of catches and their bowling discipline, which was so good throughout, went out the window. Such was the domination by the Proteas that this lapse had not the slightest impact on the outcome of the match.
Where to from here for the Kiwis? I am afraid that their prospects are bleak. Without being unkind, if one looks at the situation realistically, not one of the current New Zealand players would make the South African team. They are punching well above their weight.
They did show some signs of improvement in the second innings with a far better batting display but it is wishful thinking to imagine this New Zealand combination extending South Africa in any way in Port Elizabeth. The most realistic target for the Kiwis will be to play well enough to take the game into day five.
The Proteas will have to guard against being complacent. I am sure in their planning and preparation for this match one of the goals will be to avoid exactly that as well as the loss of concentration they had during day two of the first test. A further challenge from a batting point of view will be to get more hundreds than just the one scored by Alviro Petersen in the first test. The top order may be a touch less expansive in an attempt to bat New Zealand out of the match in the first innings.
Depending on the surface in Port Elizabeth, we could well see another test match finishing well before the allotted five days. Hopefully from a spectator point of view the match won’t be quite as one sided as the last one. The Proteas face a more significant challenge from Pakistan in a few weeks' time so a hard working test win at this point will be a good thing. Personally I can’t see the Kiwis making things to tough for the rampant Proteas.