A brief history

New Zealand v South Africa

All time statistics

Bert Sutcliffe, who was badly injured after being hit on the head, played an extraordinary knock of 80 at Johannesburg in 1953 © Photosport
1931-32 in New Zealand
The first Test series not to involve either England or Australia began at Christchurch on February 27, 1932 between these two southern hemisphere sides, with an easy series-win for South Africa. Of New Zealand's batsmen, only Gordon 'Dad' Weir defied the South Africans in the first Test, scoring 120 runs without being dismissed, while the tourist's batsmen completely dominated the home side's bowling in scoring 451. South Africa again coasted to an easy win in the second Test, despite an improved batting performance from the home team. Giff Vivian's hundred, his sole century in seven Tests, helped New Zealand to 364 in their first innings but South Africa, and Xen Balaskas with an unbeaten 122, were simply too dominant.
New Zealand 0  South Africa 2

1952-53 in New Zealand
South Africa's superiority was never in doubt in this series. Jackie McGlew, opening the innings, struck an unbeaten 255 - his highest Test score - which drove the tourists to a colossal 524 for 8 declared. John Watkins' medium-pace swing and Hugh Tayfield's offspin proved dangerous and the home side capitulated for 172 in both innings. The second Test was drawn, not helped by the pitch which was slow, low and "discouraging to stroke production" as Wisden recalls, allowing South Africa a series victory.
New Zealand 0  South Africa 1

1953-54 in South Africa
New Zealand toured South Africa for a five-match series. South Africa got off to a strong start at Durban, crushing New Zealand by an innings and 58 runs to record their first win at home for 23 years. Although the tourists won the series convincingly 4-0, it was remembered for a magnificent innings of 80 not out by Bert Sutcliffe in Johannesburg, in a match which spanned Christmas. The New Zealanders, devastated by news of a train crash back home which killed 151 people, went into bat. The pitch was fiery, Neil Adcock sending Lawrie Miller and Sutcliffe to hospital. Sutcliffe, who was struck on his helmet-less head, returned when his side were 81 for 6. Pale, with his head in a bandage, he batted with controlled, graceful violence, smashing seven sixes to help his side avoid the follow-on. Capitulation came, almost inevitably, in the second innings when they were bundled out for just 100 to lose by 132 runs.
South Africa 4  New Zealand 0

Eddie Barlow was described as 'an opening bat who revealed an all-too-rare and refreshing desire to attack...[The] bespectacled lad has undoubtedly come to stay.' © The Cricketer International

1961-62 in South Africa
New Zealand won their first Tests overseas, drawing the series 2-2, led by John Reid who scored 546 runs. With South Africa winning the first Test, and drawing the second, New Zealand fought back strongly to win the third at Cape Town, where Frank Cameron and Jack Alabaster, supported by some brilliant fielding, ran through the South Africans who fell short of their target of 408 runs. Eddie Barlow, who died in December 2005, made his debut in this series and was described by Wisden as "an opening bat who revealed an all-too-rare and refreshing desire to attack...[The] bespectacled lad has undoubtedly come to stay."
South Africa 2  New Zealand 2

1963-64 in New Zealand
Attempts by anti-apartheid demonstrators to damage the pitch failed to prevent the first Test from starting on time. The pitch was too low and slow for New Zealand to confidently set about their run-chase of 268 and the match ended in a draw. Bowlers dominated the second Test, with Frank Cameron and Bob Blair bowling accurately to defy the South Africans from reaching their target of 65 in 23 minutes. Eddie Barlow continued the same fine form he displayed during South Africa's tour of Australia with a pair of fifties in the third Test which ought to have set the tourists up nicely for victory. New Zealand struggled in pursuit of 309, falling to 185 for 8 before Artie Dick found a useful partner in Bob Cunis, who together staved off defeat.
New Zealand 0  South Africa 0

1994-95 in South Africa
This was New Zealand's third tour of South Africa, and first for 33 years. Although they started excellently, winning the first Test, the tour ended on a sour note with three of the squad - Matthew Hart, Dion Nash, Stephen Fleming - suspended for smoking cannabis. They also failed to win one of their six one-day internationals in the quadrangular Mandela Trophy. The first Test, at Johannesburg, was a convincing win for New Zealand who rattled up 411, which turned out to be a decisive total on a wearing pitch. Hart, the left-arm spinner, used the rough cleverly to take 5 for 77 in South Africa's second innings, as the hosts lost 7 for 39 before lunch on the final day to lose by 137 runs. The second Test highlighted the batting faults of New Zealand who, in a low-scoring game, were twice dismissed for under 200. Fanie de Villiers, with match figures of 55.2-17-120-8, was South Africa's hero but, as Wisden recalls, it was South Africa's "collective spirit and aggression [that] had been too much for New Zealand, whose decline now looked terminal". South Africa's increasingly aggressive approach proved too much for New Zealand in the third Test, too, and they won the series 2-1.
South Africa 2  New Zealand 1

1994-95 Centenary Test
South Africa spoilt New Zealand's planned celebrations for their centenary of cricket, by sneaking a victory at Auckland. Hansie Cronje's enticing declaration just before lunch on the fifth day, having made 101 himself, left New Zealand needing 275 to win in 63 overs. When Ken Rutherford fell for 56, South Africa sniffed a chance with Allan Donald and Fanie de Villiers bundling out the hosts for 181 to win by 93 runs.

1998-99 in New Zealand
Although encouraged by their win over India earlier in the year, New Zealand supporters were rightfully wary of a strong and energetic South African team. The home side weren't to be overawed, though. Despite the absence of their three key players to injury - Chris Cairns, Stephen Fleming and Craig McMillan - a 1-0 loss wasn't what South Africa deserved. New Zealand's resistance was admirable but two placid pitches - plus the weather at Christchurch - caused South Africa more trouble than the opposition. Darryl Cullinan's 152 in the final Test - to add to his 275 in the first Test - allowed South Africa to cruise past New Zealand's pithy total of 222. The home side fared slightly better in the second innings thanks to 62 from Nathan Astle, but even he couldn't resist the forever-probing lines of Shaun Pollock and, the Man of the Match, Steve Elworthy.
Tests: New Zealand 0  South Africa 1
ODIs: New Zealand 2  South Africa 3

Shaun Pollock and Allan Donald dominated two series against New Zealand, in 1998-99 and 2000-01 © AFP

2000-01 in South Africa
South Africa swept to a 2-0 series victory against a weak New Zealand, and a threadbare bowling attack. Shayne O'Connor, Daryl Tuffey and debutant Chris Martin totalled just 15 Tests between them, and of those only O'Connor had any wickets to his name. Contrast this with two of South Africa's golden boys, Allan Donald and Shaun Pollock who went into the first Test with 483 between them. South Africa powered their way to 471 for 9 declared. Inevitably, Pollock and Donald starred with the ball, restricting New Zealand to 229 and causing them to follow on; the home side knocked off the required 101 runs, although not without alarm, losing five wickets in the process. The visitors threatened a stronger performance in the second Test, thanks largely to an innings of 150 from Matt Sinclair - but they crumbled in their second innings losing their last three wickets in under four overs.
Tests: South Africa 2  New Zealand 0
ODIs: South Africa 5  New Zealand 0

2003-04 in New Zealand
A jaded South Africa failed to live up to their billing as the second-best one-day and Test side during the 2003-04 tour; New Zealand, however, proved to be a competent and tough team to beat. It also saw the coming of age of two players: Jacob Oram for New Zealand, and Jaques Rudolph for South Africa. Heavy rain caused the first Test pitch to play low and slow. Having bowled excellently in South Africa's first innings, Oram then proceeded to caress his first Test hundred, an unbeaten 119, but the match petered out into a draw. The second Test at Auckland was won by New Zealand - their first victory in 13 home Tests against South Africa. Having watched Graeme Smith and Herschelle Gibbs put on 177 for the first wicket, New Zealand fought back through Chris Martin (6 for 76), and their batsmen: Scott Styris (170) and Chris Cairns (158) gave the home side a huge, matchwinning first-innings lead of 299. Martin, though expensive in the second innings, took another five-wicket haul to give New Zealand victory by nine wickets. In a relatively low-scoring final match at Wellington, South Africa bounced back superbly to level the series. Martin again bowled well, picking up another five wickets, but Nicky Boje's eight wickets in the match, and a classy, unbeaten 125 from Smith, enabled South Africa to remain undefeated against New Zealand in a Test series.
Tests: New Zealand 1  South Africa 1
ODIs: New Zealand 5  South Africa 1

2005-06 in South Africa
Coming off the back of a 3-0 home whitewash against Australia, South African spirits were low when New Zealand arrived. But a 4-0 victory in the one-day series, with Andre Nel (7 wickets at 23.85) and Makhaya Ntini (8 at 16.75) proving an irresistible combination, put them back on track against less demanding opponents. However, New Zealand responded to the drubbing with a strong start to the first Test, largely thanks to an extraordinary hundred from Jacob Oram to hand them a first-innings lead, in spite of 5 for 94 from Ntini who was brimming with verve and confidence. But New Zealand's tail-end heroics in the first innings amounted to little come the second. Chasing 249 they were shot out for 120, again falling to Ntini who took ten in the match. The second Test dribbled into a dull draw owing to weather (and a pitch which fooled everyone) before Ntini tore into New Zealand in the third Test with another five-for. A cultured 60 from Daniel Vettori in the second innings set South Africa a tricky 217 to win and, in spite of threatening to make a mess of it, Ashwell Prince saw them home with a patient 43.
Tests South Africa 2 New Zealand 0
ODIs South Africa 4 New Zealand 0

Will Luke is editorial assistant of Cricinfo