Time: 25 Feb, 3.30 AM IST
Venue: Hagley Oval, Christchurch
Conducive conditions will be on offer for the seamers. That said, with a sunny weather forecast for most part of the game, the batters too will fancy their chances. Don’t expect spinners from either side to succeed.
After their success in the opening Test, the hosts are likely to remain unchanged.
Probable XI for New Zealand: Tom Latham (c), Will Young, Devon Conway, Henry Nicholls, Daryl Mitchell, Tom Blundell (wk), Colin de Grandhomme, Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Matt Henry
South Africa may bench Aiden Markram as he averages a dismal 9.7 in his last 10 innings.
Probable XI for South Africa: Dean Elgar (c), Sarel Erwee, Rassie van der Dussen, Ryan Rickelton, Temba Bavuma, Zubayr Hamza, Kyle Verreynne (wk), Marco Jansen, Kagiso Rabada, Glenton Stuurman, Duanne Olivier
We have opted for a fantasy cricket team based on the recent performances, overall impact, and credit points.
Matt Henry’s 7 for 23 and 58* in the first innings scripted a big win for New Zealand. He can be unplayable once he starts moving the ball both ways. If New Zealand bowl first, the South African batters will have their work cut out.
The visitors will know the importance of Devon Conway’s wicket, especially in the first innings. Here’s why: he averages 100 in the first innings as compared to 14.5 in the second innings. In addition, he has 3 fifties in 4 Tests at the Hagley Oval.
Kagiso Rabada is the second-highest wicket-taker (15) for South Africa this year. On a lively pitch, he can be a nasty customer. Not too long ago that he single-handedly blew India away at Johannesburg.
Marco Jansen has taken the most Test wickets (16) thus far in 2022. His ability to generate disconcerting bounce will pose a challenge to the Kiwi batters.
96 with the bat and 6 dismissals with the gloves in the first Test: Tom Blundell has adapted well to his wicketkeeping role, after BJ Watling’s retirement.
Don’t be fooled by Kyle Jamieson’s rare, ordinary outing in the last game. He has 24 scalps to his credit in only four appearances at the Hagley Oval.
Henry Nicholls registered his second century against the Proteas in the longest format and now averages 70 against them.
Whenever the Kiwis play Test cricket, they rely on opener Tom Latham for a solid start. He has a reputation for playing long innings. At the venue, he has an impressive record: in 10 Tests, he has scored 879 runs at 55, with the highest score of 252.
If South Africa are to compete better, Dean Elgar and Temba Bavuma will need to bat better. The duo is capable of grinding it out in the middle. Only recently did we see them tiring out the Indian bowlers.
Tim Southee has taken 49 wickets at an outstanding average of 20.2 including three five-wicket hauls at the venue.
New Zealand have won their last five Tests at the Hagley Oval. Their confidence too will be up after beating South Africa emphatically in the opening Test. That said, the Proteas have never lost a series to the Kiwis. With history at stake, an intriguing contest awaits us all.