SA vs NZ Test: South Africa registered an iconic victory against New Zealand by beating them in the second Test at Hagley Oval while becoming the first team ever to win at the venue after choosing to bat first. With this victory, the team also levelled the two-match series 1-1 and maintained their unbeaten record against the Black Caps and broke their five-match winning streak.
Black Caps captain Tom Latham said that a fine work with the bat by the visitors was a key determiner of their victory and proved to be the difference between the two sides.
“From 1-0 to here is quite disappointing on our front,” the New Zealand skipper said. “We knew coming in that we had to front up again and we knew South Africa were going to bring their best. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to stick with them for long enough [on day four] and get those breakthroughs. They were able to put a good score and then coming into our second innings, we couldn’t build partnerships, especially among our top four.
“I think there were times throughout the Test match where momentum shifted from team to team. We were able to stay with South Africa for long periods but they managed to get their heads in front yesterday with lower-order partnerships. From a batting point of view, we were unable to do that. If we were able to do that, things might have looked different. Both in the first and second innings,” he added.
The Proteas made a remarkable comeback through this match as they set a target of 426 by adding 214 runs on Day 4 and managed to bundle them out for 227. Kyle Verreynne registered his maiden Test hundred as he remained unbeaten at 136 runs. The bowlers made crucial contributions on the final day as they managed to reduce the hosts to 6 for 61, strangling the batting order.
Kagiso Rabada finished the match as the highest wicket-taker of the team, with eight wickets in his kitty, including his 11th career five-for. Marco Jansen and Keshav Maharaj, the only spinner of the match, also dismissed important wickets to decapitate the lower and the middle order of the New Zealand innings, taking seven and three wickets, respectively. While Wiaan Mulder prevented the hosts from adding in on their total with fours and sixes.
The pitch of the Hagley Oval offered favour of the spinners as Keshav Maharaj managed to grab three wickets in the second innings, returning figures of 3 for 75. Despite this, Latham expressed that he doesn’t feel the team made a mistake by leaving out spinners.
“I don’t think we missed a spinner. Regardless of what side we put on, we have a way we like to go about things. Even though the wicket was slightly flatter, there wasn’t a huge amount of turn and we certainly thought we had a team that was good enough to win.
“Certainly happy with the side we have. We have full belief in the side we have and the XI we put out. From a batting point of view, in New Zealand, some surfaces – sometimes it is not easy, sometimes it is not your day, and I think we’ve shown over long periods of time that we can be successful on these wickets. We had a couple of guys missing who will come back to the squad and then we will reassess.”
“As a whole, we had four Test matches in New Zealand and wanted to win them all, and unfortunately we weren’t able to do that. We played some good cricket in between and there were a couple of games where we didn’t quite play our best. We’ve got three Tests in England as our next tour and the goal there will be to win three Tests over there. From an England point of view, we played a couple of Tests over there last year [including the WTC final against India], so conditions are familiar.
“Obviously you set out to win every Test at home. When we head to England, it will be important we shift our focus to that and win that series over there. Whatever Test it is, whether the first of a championship cycle or the last one, you always set out with the ambition of winning. So we now focus on the next Test match.”
The defeat, which came following their defeat against Bangladesh, has pushed New Zealand to the sixth position in the ICC World Championship points table. The team will next face Sri Lanka in a home series along with their tours to England and Pakistan.
SA vs NZ Test, Match 2 Brief Scores: South Africa 364 (Erwee 108, Wagner 4-102, Henry 3-90) and 354 for 9 dec (Verreynne 136*, Rabada 47, Henry 2-81) beat New Zealand 293 (de Grandhomme 120*, Rabada 5-60, Jansen 4-98) and 227 (Conway 92, Rabada 3-46, Jansen 3-63) by 198 runs