Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Preview, 1st Test, New Zealand versus South Africa, Dunedin

In truth this contest has a real David versus Goliath look about it with the New Zealand line up having respectable bowling strength, but matched by its Swiss cheese like batting line up. In comparison is a South African Team that is brimmed to the eye balls with all round class in conditions that will be like a bed for them to lie in.


With this in mind and coupled with the glorious uncertainty of the game we can expect the Kiwis to win within three days.......?


LOL!...well not really, but in Test Cricket anything is possible so lets look at this clash further.


New Zealand


Likely Team


The Kiwis have been forced to drop Jessie Ryder due to him falling off the wagon in regards to his discipline again, and lost incumbent keeper B.J.Watling. The loss of Ryder is a blow for the batting line up is already fragile with him in it and now looking paper thin in his absence.


Rob Nicol comes in to open the batting in this Test for his debut and he will certainly know the difficulty of Test Cricket facing Mssrs Steyn&Co with the new ball. Also the South African expat in Kruger van Wyk takes Watling's place behind the stumps.

So we wish both debutantes the best wishes with the Team as follows


Martin Guptill, Rob Nicol,  Brendon McCullum, Ross Taylor (capt),  Kane Williamson,  Daniel Vettori,  Kruger van Wyk (wk),  Doug Bracewell,  Tim Southee, Trent Boult,  Chris Martin

The Key for New Zealand to Win

Against a South African bowling line up that is of supreme class the main key for the hosts will be how their batting stands up against it.

In this regard there is a huge doubt with the line up being devoid of real class and then further compromised by most having ODI temperaments. Which leads to some inexplicably soft dismissals.

To be a factor in this match, batsmen like McCullum, Taylor and Williamson who have shown signs of ability at Test level in the past need to be at the top of their games. Taylor in particular needs to lead from the front for he is blessed with such talent but just needs to make sure his head is right to be a real star in Test Cricket.

A bonus would be Martin Guptill transforming the force he is in the shorter forms of the game into real Cricket. If he can perform in this series it will be a huge fillip for the Team.

Dan Vettori being a pest with the bat would help a great deal too as well as the bowling all rounders in Bracewell and Southee contributing.

If the batting can stand up against the South African bowling fury then the Team has a good chance to give the tourists some issues.

This on the back of their very talented bowling unit that is backed up by one of the best fielding outfits in the game.

As we saw in Australia, Doug Bracewell has all the tools to be a top class fast bowler, and then do not discount Tim Southee's pedigree either. Rounding out a very decent attack is the big hearted and skilled Chris Martin and the precocious talents of the young left hander Trent Boult.

Vettori's very under rated and insightful left arm spin completes the attack beautifully.

If the Kiwi batting can perform then we could be in for a very tightly contested match...

South Africa

Likely Team

The South Africans have a relatively settled line up with the only point of contention being over how to fit all their high class pace men into their Team. Sadly a potential fast bowling buzz saw in Marchant De Lange might have to sit on the sidelines until a vacancy becomes available.

Leaving the Team as follows:

Graeme Smith (capt), Alviro Petersen, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers, Jacques Rudolph, Mark Boucher (wk), Vernon Philander,  Dale Steyn,  Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir

The Key for South Africa to Win

Whatever way you look at it the South African's have it over New Zealand in a huge manner in regards to all round talent.

Duly if they perform anywhere near their optimum they should win this Test easily and indeed the series.

The oil in the ointment has been the last two South African series against Australia and Sri Lanka where they were destroying the opposition, but then inexplicably let both Teams into the series through mental lapses.

Costing them a series draw against Australia and a rather embarrassing loss against Sri Lanka that has never happened before on home soil.

South African fans will pass this off as the Team being rusty, but it still made you raise your eyebrows a bit on witnessing it.

Away from the mental aspect, most eyes will be on the less established players in the line up in Alviro Petersen, Jacques Rudolph and Imran Tahir.

All who have shown talent in Test Cricket but struggled with the demands of consistency.

If any or all can establish themselves in this series, it will give the support needed to the established greats in the line up, and go a long way to firmly establishing South Africa as the best Team in Test Cricket.

Prediction

I think South Africa will win behind their pace men destroying the Kiwi batting

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