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Proteas can expect a slow surface

The Black Caps were completely outplayed in Wellington during the third one-day international.

The Proteas put in a complete performance during that match. It was a good toss to win and batting first was an advantage, but even so the visiting team was far too strong for the Black Caps.

It is clearly evident that the best chance New Zealand has to compete against South Africa is to prepare slower surfaces where the ball turns. Under the seamer-friendly conditions that prevailed in Wellington the all-round strength of the South African unit is too strong for the Kiwis. The New Zealand batsmen find it difficult to cope with the pace, bounce and seam movement that the South African bowlers extract under those conditions.

Although New Zealand have a steady pace attack themselves they don't pose similar problems for the South African batsman. Hence we can expect a slow surface in Hamilton on Wednesday that will offer some turn.

The New Zealand lineup should be a bit stronger for the fourth match. Martin Guptill will return at the top of the order, which will give New Zealand a much-needed boost in this respect. They haven't been able to get off to good starts in the series so far and Guptill is a good player in this format.

There is also a return to the NZ squad for the vastly experienced New Zealand offspinner Jeetan Patel. Patel has been out of the NZ line up for quite a while but he should improve the spin department on a surface that he knows pretty well.

South Africa too will more than likely have to bring a second specialist spinner into the side. Tabraiz Shamsi is likely to get another opportunity alongside Imran Tahir. The toss will be important in this day-night match. Due to the slow, turning surface that is expected it should be an advantage to bat first and post a score.

The surface is likely to slow down and turn more as the match progresses, so scoreboard pressure in terms of batting second could be a factor. The Proteas are on top of their game and I expect them to clinch the series tomorrow.

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