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South Africa v New Zealand, 1st Test, Wanderers
Daryll Cullinan: Dale Steyn is an exciting talent
November 11, 2007
South Africa's pace attack backed their brilliant batting performance to register a convincing win over New Zealand
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I will be particularly pleased with Steyn's performance, now that Shaun Pollock's Test career may be something of the past © AFP

South Africa handed New Zealand their biggest defeat, in terms of runs, by 358 runs and it is also South Africa's biggest win in this regard as well.

The Man of the Match was Dale Steyn and how brilliant he was - 10 for 93 and he once again underlined what an exciting talent and what a great future he has. I will be particularly pleased with Steyn's performance, now that Shaun Pollock's Test career may be something of the past.

For New Zealand it was always going to be the test of their batsmen against South Africa's pace attack. I for one did not think that they would battle as much as they did. The pitch was a bit slow on the first day and they would have thought that they were in the match, having dismissed South Africa for 226. But the South Africans came into their own to dismiss New Zealand for 118 in their first innings. It was disappointing to see the way they fell. One can almost say that they were done in by the South African pace attack - they pushed them back and then they got their length good, and that led to a lot of New Zealand batsmen nicking or being bowled. It is this sort of this footwork that the New Zealanders have to look for in the second Test this Friday.

It is as much of a technical battle as it is a mental battle facing this sort of pace. One has to show the technical skills and mentally, they [New Zealand] did not look as if they were upto the fight. They have got to look at the ability to play down the line, play from off stump, certainly from the back foot point of view, and also the in between length they should be able to push out.

It has always been the secret to playing well in South African conditions - that in between length with the batsmen caught going forward and stuck in the crease, which we saw from lots of New Zealand batsmen. They have to give some thought to the line and they also have to look at their ability to leave on length. Otherwise, the South African pace attack for the second Test is very similar to the Wanderers one and they will be looking to put it out there and ask the New Zealand batsmen to play away from the body, play from the crease and bring [Mark] Boucher and company behind the stumps into play.

New Zealand look brittle, their batting looks feeble and how they can regroup mentally can be a greater challenge. They are suffering with injuries to their key players and one can only hope that come Friday they are in some sort of shape to take on a very confident and a very happy looking South African side.

South Africa then took to crease after New Zealand's disappointing 118. Herschelle Gibbs and Graeme Smith went early but it was all stopped by Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis. Brilliant hundreds from both of them, Amla in particular. He has had tough time in Test cricket off late but he has shown us what he has shown in domestic cricket that once he gets in, then he is very tough guy to get out. Unusual in his technique but a mentally strong, very confident player once he gets in. He ended up with a brilliant 176 not out.

Kallis, what form he is having so far. He followed up the good Pakistan series with a 186, his 28th Test hundred and he went past 9000 Test runs. And, I can tell you that back in South Africa there is lots of praise showered on him and he thoroughly deserves it - truly one of the greats of the game. He's yet to get a double hundred, he is the man with the most Test runs [for South Africa] and most hundreds. But one feels that he has time on his side and this is the milestone that he will achieve. When he gets a double hundred, we will wait for him to get a triple hundred. We just have to wait and see.

New Zealanders required 531 runs to win in almost two days and it was only a question of just trying to bat it out. But the way they succumbed to 172, it requires a lot of thought. Dale Steyn took 5 for 59. Andre Nel helped with sustained pressure from the other end, and that really has been the secret of South African cricket of late - sustained pressure from both ends. They really enjoy these conditions, the South African bowling attack, including Paul Harris, who wasn't asked to do much, and Kallis as well.

For South Africa it can only be the same sort of squad for the second Test match. They will be looking to clinch this series - they can't lose it from now. For New Zealand, they have got a lot of thinking, a lot of preparation and in a week they can realistically turn it around - it's hard to believe that they will offer much resistance to a very confident, very much in-form South African side. They have got a nice balance, key players are contributing and they have got a very happy captain.

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