New Zealand v South Africa, 1st Test, Dunedin March 6, 2012

South Africa start bid to reach No. 1

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Match facts

March 7-11, Dunedin
Start time 10:30 (21:30 GMT)

The Big Picture

Test cricket desperately needs a team to prove itself worthy of the much-hyped No. 1 ranking. A little competition at the top makes things interesting, but two top-ranked Test sides being whitewashed within seven months is downright farcical. Any sport requires a benchmark of excellence. South Africa are the team most capable of having an extended run at the top of the rankings: they, unlike England and India, perform well in all conditions, and had it not been for a strange inability to win a home series for three years they would already have been No. 1. They can get there by beating New Zealand 3-0 and should settle for nothing less.

A year ago, when New Zealand were in quite dismal form, a whitewash would have been the expected result. A month ago, with New Zealand riding on their upset of Australia in Hobart and thumping of Zimbabwe in Napier, one might have predicted a more even fight. Now, with South Africa having halted New Zealand's revival by wiping the floor with them in the one-dayers, but having suffered a shock loss against Sri Lanka in Durban last December, bold predictions would not be as forthcoming.

New Zealand face a dilemma when it comes to what types of tracks to prepare for the series. The success in Hobart came in seaming conditions, and South Africa have lost on fast bowlers' pitches, in Johannesburg and Durban, recently. But it would take a brave team to prepare a surface that would aid Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander. The Dunedin pitch has not a speck of green on it, with dried grass covering the pitch, which may make it get slower as the game goes on.

The idea might be to bring Daniel Vettori into the game, but Vettori has a poor record against South Africa, who play spin well. Batting tracks may not favour New Zealand either; their batsmen do not have the experience of their opponents in playing long innings and building mammoth totals.

Everything points to South African dominance, but it is both teams' ability to surprise, in contrasting fashion, that will keep the punters on edge.

Form guide

(Most recent first)

South Africa WLWLW
New Zealand WWLWD

Watch out for...

There was a great amount of excitement surrounding Imran Tahir's debut because he was the first legspinner to play for South Africa since their readmission to international cricket. It's not been the smoothest of starts for him, though. He has struggled to trouble batsmen with his stock ball and his googly has been effective mainly against lower-order batsmen, who account for eight of his 14 Test scalps. New Zealand's batsmen are not as adept at playing spin as Tahir's previous opponents - Australia and Sri Lanka - and this could be the series that decides his future; if the quicks leave him much to do that is.

Martin Guptill has been in prime form of late but still needs to prove he can handle top opposition in Tests. His record against top teams is poor: an average of 24.76 with no centuries in 30 innings. South Africa will be the toughest opposition he has faced yet and he will need to learn when to leave the ball and defend in addition to playing his shots.

Team news

Graeme Smith will lead South Africa despite soreness in his arm from a blow he took in the nets before the ODI series. Jacques Kallis pulled out of the third ODI due to back spasms but batted in the nets on Tuesday and is expected to play. Alviro Petersen, who joined the squad on Thursday, is set to open, with Jacques Rudolph batting at No. 6. Philander will come straight into the XI after his outstanding introduction to Test cricket, and Tahir is expected to be persisted with despite Marchant de Lange making a strong case for inclusion in the Test team.

South Africa: 1 Graeme Smith (capt), 2 Alviro Petersen, 3 Hashim Amla, 4 Jacques Kallis, 5 AB de Villiers, 6 Jacques Rudolph, 7 Mark Boucher (wk), 8 Vernon Philander, 9 Dale Steyn, 10 Morne Morkel, 11 Imran Tahir

New Zealand will have two debutants: opener Rob Nicol and wicketkeeper Kruger van Wyk, who will play in place of the injured BJ Watling. Nicol will open with Guptill, with Brendon McCullum moving down to No. 3. There is a third uncapped player in the squad, allrounder Andrew Ellis, but with Ross Taylor keen on playing four quicks, he may not be picked. Daniel Vettori is likely to bat at No. 6 with Chris Martin, Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell and Tim Southee forming the pace attack.

New Zealand: 1 Martin Guptill, 2 Rob Nicol, 3 Brendon McCullum, 4 Ross Taylor (capt), 5 Kane Williamson, 6 Daniel Vettori, 7 Kruger van Wyk (wk), 8 Doug Bracewell, 9 Tim Southee, Trent Boult, 11 Chris Martin

Pitch and conditions

It is around 14C in Dunedin, which could make the South Africa players uncomfortable. There is also a chance of rain on the first day, with clear skies forecast for the next four. A brown pitch that may get slower suggests batting first would be the favoured option for both captains, which would be backed up by the high first-innings totals that have been scored in the three Tests at the University Oval. The last Plunket Shield match played at the ground, though, was a low-scoring game in which Auckland beat Otago after choosing to field.

Stats and trivia

  • Hashim Amla averages 104.80 against New Zealand after six Test innings against them
  • Of the last five matches between the two teams, four have been won by South Africa in less than four days

Click here for the detailed stats preview to the Test.

Quotes

"I've been surprised that that's been the general talk but the guys [South Africa] have performed really well on the tour so naturally people are getting despondent."
Graeme Smith says he did not expect the New Zealand public to write off their own team before the series had started

"After the win in Hobart we've captured the imagination of the country and we want to try and build on that."
Ross Taylor says New Zealand can erase the memory of the 0-3 loss in the ODIs with a better performance in the Tests

Edited by Siddarth Ravindran

Dustin Silgardo is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on March 7, 2012, 2:25 GMT

    @jonesy- how can Australia be the only number one when in the last 4 ashes series they are down 1-3? I mean seriously..

  • Lermy on March 7, 2012, 1:58 GMT

    The first collosal blunder by NZ already. Normally I would say bowl first, but NOT when the outfield is damp. Ball gets soft, doesn't swing, is hard to hold. Watch SA make hay. What on earth are John Wright and Ross Taylor thinking? This is basic school boy stuff. NEVER bowl when conditions are really wet.

  • jmcilhinney on March 7, 2012, 1:10 GMT

    As an England fan I am also hoping NZ can do well in this series. If they can bowl like they did in Hobart they will be in with a chance. I think it's rather funny that some people are saying that England are not a worthy #1 when they were so far ahead that they could lose 0-3 to Pakistan and it will still take a 3-0 result to SA to knock them off. No ranking system is going to please all of the people all of the time but the current ICC rankings are as good as any. Just as JG said, the team that is ranked #1 is always worthy because they only get there by virtue of results. You might have to win everywhere to be considered great but you don't have to win everywhere to be #1. You just have to be better than everyone else, which England are at the moment. Noone looks like dominating like WI and Australia teams of old; not England, not SA, not Australia or anyone else. Australians may not like losing but I think it's better that more teams are capable of leading the rankings.

  • popcorn on March 6, 2012, 23:50 GMT

    Excellent, scathing analysis of the much -hyped Number One Test Tream Ranking. It makes you laugh when ICC ranks India as the Number One Test Team when they have been whitewasged 4 nil TWICE in succession! Doiesn't it make you laugh, ICC? Or are you wiping the floor with BCCI? the ONLY way to rank Test Teams is to hold Round Robin matches HOME and AWAY, 3 Tests a side,(5 for The iconic Ashes),then the top two teams go through for a Best of 3 Tests at neutral venue - say, Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi.

  • OhhhMattyMatty on March 6, 2012, 22:43 GMT

    So South Africa perform well in all conditions, except their own? LOL! They will get massacred in the Summer in England and will be made to look like childs play, just like India!

  • JG2704 on March 6, 2012, 22:13 GMT

    Personally I'll be rooting for NZ. As an England fan I have obvious reasons but I also have a soft spot for NZ. When I was a kid I met Martin Crowe and John Wright after a Somerset/Derbyshire Sunday league match and both guys were the epitome of charm - very warm human beings. I think I've always remembered that and has influenced my opinion on NZ cricket. Right now England are number one on merit and if SA whitewash NZ they will be there on merit. So I'm hoping NZ do us a favour , but if not then fair play to SA who are a decent side and would be worthy successors.

  • Bruisers on March 6, 2012, 22:11 GMT

    @jonesy2 - The only worthy No.1 is SOUTH AFRICA. Australia may come a distant second.. In fact not just in Tests but in other formats too..

  • Ducard on March 6, 2012, 21:40 GMT

    @Rohit Gupta, The team was bowled out for 47 beat India 4-0. So India is much worse that Australia right? Why don't you talk a bit more objectively?

  • JG2704 on March 6, 2012, 21:38 GMT

    Personally I'll be rooting for NZ. As an England fan I have obvious reasons but I also have a soft spot for NZ. When I was a kid I met Martin Crowe and John Wright after a Somerset/Derbyshire Sunday league match and both guys were the epitome of charm - very warm human beings. I think I've always remembered that and has influenced my opinion on NZ cricket. Right now England are number one on merit and if SA whitewash NZ they will be there on merit. So I'm hoping NZ do us a favour , but if not then fair play to SA who are a decent side and would be worthy successors.

  • Patchmaster on March 6, 2012, 21:24 GMT

    @ Jonesy - funny that you're commenting on here and not AUS being thrashed by SL last night. Classic mate. AUS would trade everything just to win back the Ashes from ENG that they've lost times in a row. I know it's hard for you to swallow, but AUS just aren't good as SA or ENG. Facts, Televised games, commenators and crowds all must be wrong and you're right eh ? he he....

  • on March 7, 2012, 2:25 GMT

    @jonesy- how can Australia be the only number one when in the last 4 ashes series they are down 1-3? I mean seriously..

  • Lermy on March 7, 2012, 1:58 GMT

    The first collosal blunder by NZ already. Normally I would say bowl first, but NOT when the outfield is damp. Ball gets soft, doesn't swing, is hard to hold. Watch SA make hay. What on earth are John Wright and Ross Taylor thinking? This is basic school boy stuff. NEVER bowl when conditions are really wet.

  • jmcilhinney on March 7, 2012, 1:10 GMT

    As an England fan I am also hoping NZ can do well in this series. If they can bowl like they did in Hobart they will be in with a chance. I think it's rather funny that some people are saying that England are not a worthy #1 when they were so far ahead that they could lose 0-3 to Pakistan and it will still take a 3-0 result to SA to knock them off. No ranking system is going to please all of the people all of the time but the current ICC rankings are as good as any. Just as JG said, the team that is ranked #1 is always worthy because they only get there by virtue of results. You might have to win everywhere to be considered great but you don't have to win everywhere to be #1. You just have to be better than everyone else, which England are at the moment. Noone looks like dominating like WI and Australia teams of old; not England, not SA, not Australia or anyone else. Australians may not like losing but I think it's better that more teams are capable of leading the rankings.

  • popcorn on March 6, 2012, 23:50 GMT

    Excellent, scathing analysis of the much -hyped Number One Test Tream Ranking. It makes you laugh when ICC ranks India as the Number One Test Team when they have been whitewasged 4 nil TWICE in succession! Doiesn't it make you laugh, ICC? Or are you wiping the floor with BCCI? the ONLY way to rank Test Teams is to hold Round Robin matches HOME and AWAY, 3 Tests a side,(5 for The iconic Ashes),then the top two teams go through for a Best of 3 Tests at neutral venue - say, Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi.

  • OhhhMattyMatty on March 6, 2012, 22:43 GMT

    So South Africa perform well in all conditions, except their own? LOL! They will get massacred in the Summer in England and will be made to look like childs play, just like India!

  • JG2704 on March 6, 2012, 22:13 GMT

    Personally I'll be rooting for NZ. As an England fan I have obvious reasons but I also have a soft spot for NZ. When I was a kid I met Martin Crowe and John Wright after a Somerset/Derbyshire Sunday league match and both guys were the epitome of charm - very warm human beings. I think I've always remembered that and has influenced my opinion on NZ cricket. Right now England are number one on merit and if SA whitewash NZ they will be there on merit. So I'm hoping NZ do us a favour , but if not then fair play to SA who are a decent side and would be worthy successors.

  • Bruisers on March 6, 2012, 22:11 GMT

    @jonesy2 - The only worthy No.1 is SOUTH AFRICA. Australia may come a distant second.. In fact not just in Tests but in other formats too..

  • Ducard on March 6, 2012, 21:40 GMT

    @Rohit Gupta, The team was bowled out for 47 beat India 4-0. So India is much worse that Australia right? Why don't you talk a bit more objectively?

  • JG2704 on March 6, 2012, 21:38 GMT

    Personally I'll be rooting for NZ. As an England fan I have obvious reasons but I also have a soft spot for NZ. When I was a kid I met Martin Crowe and John Wright after a Somerset/Derbyshire Sunday league match and both guys were the epitome of charm - very warm human beings. I think I've always remembered that and has influenced my opinion on NZ cricket. Right now England are number one on merit and if SA whitewash NZ they will be there on merit. So I'm hoping NZ do us a favour , but if not then fair play to SA who are a decent side and would be worthy successors.

  • Patchmaster on March 6, 2012, 21:24 GMT

    @ Jonesy - funny that you're commenting on here and not AUS being thrashed by SL last night. Classic mate. AUS would trade everything just to win back the Ashes from ENG that they've lost times in a row. I know it's hard for you to swallow, but AUS just aren't good as SA or ENG. Facts, Televised games, commenators and crowds all must be wrong and you're right eh ? he he....

  • on March 6, 2012, 21:17 GMT

    Oh please Bigchop . . . what has rugby to do with cricket!? Your argument is immature and suffers from cogent reasoning.

  • on March 6, 2012, 21:13 GMT

    These previews are always great to read and get you excited for the match. That's why I love Cricinfo.com.

  • Bigchops on March 6, 2012, 20:43 GMT

    SA are simply not as good as England ..if you pressure them they will struggles as they did against SL in Durban..NZ will fight hard here and have a decent attack. If Guptill and co can get off to a good start then NZ will be in the game. Also a comment was made that NZ is not up to test standard a bity rough coming from a country who has 2 sub standard rugby teams in the super 15 who would be second division in NZ rugby.

  • on March 6, 2012, 20:09 GMT

    I keep on reading that Nicol will open the NZ innings. I hope this is wrong he should slot into Brownlies no 5 position. Realistically he is in the team to fill a gap and that is what he shoud do. NZ should not reshuffle a batting order that looks set for the next few years.

  • on March 6, 2012, 20:04 GMT

    @jonesy2 Sorry mate "worthy" teams don't get bowled out for 47 nor do they lose to the Kiwis in tests. Come back when you're a bit more objective.

  • Supa_SAFFA on March 6, 2012, 20:03 GMT

    No other team would be more deserving of being no 1. No whitewashes, no recent series losses except for OZ's rebound after SA won down under - so all square there. Good performances home and away and in all conditions. Outright series wins against minor test nations. And in drawing against top nations, their opponents were mostly playing catch-up, digging deep after being clobbered early on, or miraculously escaping the final knock-out punch by a whisker. These series SA was never in danger of losing but they lacked killer instinct. They sure have weaknesses, but after a 3-0 drubbing of NZ there will be none that can claim to be better.

  • Brenton1 on March 6, 2012, 20:03 GMT

    SA is poised to be number 1 because we are a difficult team to beat. We have drawn a fair number of series at home and away and won a few series but there are not many losses in the recent past.This is an undisputed fact. Australian and Indian supporters need to get over the past and live in the present.Your teams are not at the level they once were while SA is on an upward movement. We drew in UAE where england were whitewashed. We beat Aus in Aus where Ind were whitewashed. We may not be the best team ever but we are the best team currently.

  • Logan_Tate on March 6, 2012, 19:16 GMT

    Brown pitch getting slower as the match goes on? So why not pick Nethula in place of one of the quicks? Yes Danny is still a world class spin bowler, but Nicol and Williamson cannot be relied upon to bowl consistently in a test match. Two spinners would add much more depth to this NZ side. Nethula should be in this side in place of Southee.

  • on March 6, 2012, 18:13 GMT

    @johan venter, u r ryt Its like when we have somethin to play for we always screw up. We were no.2 to australia then india n nw england its frustrating cz we should have been number since 2008 whn the likes of mcgrath, warne, gilchrist etc retired.

  • on March 6, 2012, 18:13 GMT

    at the current moment..no team is best in the world..there have been only two teams who have dominated the world..THE GREAT WESTINDIES TEAM and THE MIGHTY AUSTRALIANS.. it is still not clear dat who will be next dominating team.. south africa has the potential but have this really bad habbit of chocking in key moments.. i still think that australia might have a chance to regain their mantle..as they have unleased a new crop of young n aspiring fast bowlers!

  • maddy20 on March 6, 2012, 18:01 GMT

    Time for the rightful No.1 to take ascent to their deserving ranking. They have beaten OZ in OZ, they gave India a scare on rank turners and they have smacked down every other opponent that came in their way unless and ofcourse if it was a knock out in a worldcup. With Kirsten on their side I am sure they will reverse the chokers tag somehow and cross that hurdle too. GO Saffas!

  • on March 6, 2012, 17:40 GMT

    Right now it's time for SA to show the world that they are the most talented and have the most capable cricketers in the world. We can start by whitewashing the NZ's with their silly rugby pitches .

  • Saffa_1 on March 6, 2012, 17:30 GMT

    hmmm ... jonesy..jonesy...jonesy...If i had to guess, I would sayyyyyyy...you arrreeee.... Australian? Being biased much? All teams have been consistently inconsistent but SA have been the least of the lot hence the opportunity to be ranked number 1.

  • justtogood on March 6, 2012, 17:08 GMT

    @hawk89 - I know SA have only won a recent test series in SA for a long time but you say we drew against a weak AUS side? are you kidding!!!!

    SA are the only team who can peform away and I would much rather have a team that can draw away from home then get hammered like the likes of INDIA and ENGLAND....SA are very very worthy of the 1 spot if they beat NZ, how you can even question that is a joke!!!!

    And yes it will be a big test against the English but please believe me we have the firepower to bowl them out....

  • on March 6, 2012, 16:52 GMT

    South africa deserve to be NO 1. Honestly most talented test team. Hope they will play to their potential.

  • Tjoeps on March 6, 2012, 16:23 GMT

    As a Saffer I hope my team performs well, but I do not think The Black Caps will roll over! They know their own brand of cricket. I do hope that Gary has found a way to get the Proteas self believe and killer instinct up, that has always been the problem... Kruger van Wyk... Now how did a Boertjie snuck into the NZ side and debut nogal against SA... Well done Boet! I really think this is going to be a great series for both sides, with the Saffers being just to good!

  • rjansen on March 6, 2012, 16:11 GMT

    Just for the record, if they reach number 1 it won't be for the first time - South Africa was ranked number 1 briefly for four months in 2003.

  • on March 6, 2012, 16:08 GMT

    @lefoot you forgot Hashim Amla's massive 253 in India on a spinning track against the Indians, again for the rest of the guys, petersen and rudolph havent played much international cricket, however I recall Rudolph making a fighting hundred to save a match on the fith day against Shane Warne in his prime so actually I do think the South Africans play spin better than all of the non-sub continent teams.

    Finally its time for a test cup of sorts that all the teams play each other equally home and abroad which will be a better indication of who is the true world number 1.

  • Snick_To_Backward_Point on March 6, 2012, 15:18 GMT

    "There is simply no question that South Africa are the true champions in all forats of the game." Until South Africa learn how to perform under pressure there will ALWAYS be a question over whether they are true champions. In all formats they have a history of choking...

  • YorkshirePudding on March 6, 2012, 15:09 GMT

    SA have to beat NZ with a white wash in the tests, if any is a draw then England stay #1. Even if SA beat NZ 3-0, england can bounce back and if they win 2-0 in SL then they go back to the top. what ever happens it makes this year a lot more interesting as there will be another #1 shoot out when england play SA in the summer. Jonesy2, just one small fact you might want to consider SA hold the record for the shortest stay at #1, as they were ranked #1 for 4 months (aug-nov inc) in 2009 (after Punter lost his second ashes series), England have been there for the last 6 months as of this point in time.

  • Sinhaya on March 6, 2012, 15:07 GMT

    @jonesy2, well Australia cant be number 1 if they lost a test match to NZ in Australia! Yes I agree that England is not number 1 after losing 3-0 to Pakistan. Well who is number 1 can forever be debated. Australia can only be number 1 if there is another Warne or McGrath which is unlikely to happen immediately. Also, Aussies won 4-0 against India which is great. But I think it was all because the hyped up big named Indian batters were too old to cope with the rigors of test cricket. I think Aussies will have a interesting tour of Windies as they will face a spin test with Sunil Narine. Also, Aussies will face the top class spin test when they meet Pakistan in August. Should Aussies succeed in those spin tests succeed, yes then they may be number 1.

  • Sinhaya on March 6, 2012, 15:02 GMT

    As a diehard Sri Lankan fan, I want to tell the Black Caps to get inspiration on how they defeated Australia in Australia. More than anything, observe how Sri Lanka even won a test match against these over rated SA team when big talking Kepler Wessels said that the South African 2nd XI can beat Sri Lanka which was utter rubbish. This article is wrong in telling that SA are good against spin bowling. Then how come SA have lost 3 out of their last 4 test matches in Sri Lanka?

  • TommytuckerSaffa on March 6, 2012, 14:59 GMT

    Cant wait, unfortunately watching live will be impossible due rediculous time zone differences. Will be a tough contest against the Kiwis with their backs to the wall, cant wait, good luck.

  • on March 6, 2012, 14:41 GMT

    SA is worlds best team in overseas..surely they gonna beat NZ and claim the No.1 spot. SA has philander,steyn who can rap up top order easily and amla,amith,kallis,devillers who can scr tons...another one sided match... :)

  • Tartanspringbok on March 6, 2012, 14:35 GMT

    Albie has never been a Test player

  • AliD on March 6, 2012, 14:33 GMT

    I respect Mark Boucher an applaud him for what he done for South African cricket. However his time is up. Boucher is beginning to remind me of the keeper for Western Province, Richie Ryal who used to keep beautifully and bat at 9, 10 or 11. How long can the selectors drag Bouch along? If the pitches used for the limited over games are anything to go by, AB should have no problem behind the wicket. And if he keeps we can slot in another bowler. De Lange! Imagine having to face Philander, Steyn, Morkel, De Lange and Tahir. Or if not another bowler maybe JP Duminy could be in the line up? He is due a return to test cricket. Is it because of AB's back issues? Couldn't we train up another team member to keep if AB gets sore? (And when SA bowl NZ out twice in 3 days, his back will hardly feel a twinge anyway). If AB or another 'wicki' were to miss a few chances or leak a few runs behind the stumps so what? We'd have another bowler creating more chances or a batsman scoring runs.

  • jonesy2 on March 6, 2012, 13:47 GMT

    im guessing england have the record for losing the number 1 ranking quickest? i mean they will lose it as quick as possible, provided sth africa can beat NZ. the only worthy number 1 team has been australia and will be australia

  • on March 6, 2012, 13:36 GMT

    There it is again, the carrot in front of the noses of the South Africans to become the number 1 team in the world, which means that they will not make it - again.

  • on March 6, 2012, 13:35 GMT

    South Africa best Chance to get No 1 Test status This New Zealand side iare below par Test level sides and can be steamrolled easily.Although they are gritty Customer and Proteas can choke under pressure but in unique terms it should be South Africa sereis altogether

  • on March 6, 2012, 13:35 GMT

    SA have a much better test team than odi team!!! and the fact that SA smashed NZ in the ODI, things are not looking good for NZ. i sense a hiding coming to NZ. from the batsmen to the bowlers, sa are way better. make my words king kallis will steal the show once again and vernon, who the NZ have never seen will take his incredible tally to greater heights....and lets not forgot about Mr Steyn and Mr Morkel. sa team has everything going for them. all the best protea's i know you will make us proud. p.s will stay up this evening to watch all of the action :)

  • Hammond on March 6, 2012, 13:05 GMT

    How can a team that cannot win at home for the last 3 years be the best equipped to take number 1? I would say this team missed the boat against England in 2003 and have always looked the also ran ever since. Choker seems to be the standard label.

  • Mangwap on March 6, 2012, 12:56 GMT

    Even if SA win 3-0 and take the top ranking, the real acid test will only come when they play England. Having said that, NZ have crept up behind them and slipped them one unexpectedly in the past...

  • Percy_Fender on March 6, 2012, 12:40 GMT

    There is simply no question that South Africa are the true champions in all forats of the game. In 1970 they were miles ahead of everyone but they were banned and the world could not get to see the likes of Eddie Barlow, Graeme Pollock Barry Richards, Peter Pollock, Mike Procter and the others because of this. Now they have got everything in place including Gary Kirsten as the coach. They should thrash the Kiwis whatever the type of wicket they are reuired to play on.Steyn,Morkel,Philander and Tahir should be enough. If they feel like it they can also take the second Merchant the game has known.

  • sasi on March 6, 2012, 12:31 GMT

    @ lordrudraksh albie has till date played only 1 test. hes not much of a bowler and batting wise SA have better optoions.....

  • HawK89 on March 6, 2012, 12:27 GMT

    South Africa could only draw a test series against a weak australian side with a lot of problems, at home. You want NZ to do well, because SA surely do not deserve the title of #1. No one actually deserves it. Every Test nation now has a fair amount of problems. Some more than others.

  • Sirchris on March 6, 2012, 12:21 GMT

    @ lordrudraksh - Er, this is a test. Albie has only ever played one test back in 2009.

  • on March 6, 2012, 12:13 GMT

    lordrudraksh: were you in hibernation? As far as i remember albie played less than 3tests for saf and out of the test team for many years.

  • on March 6, 2012, 11:50 GMT

    One thing for sure H.Amla will get few runs.....

  • zn264 on March 6, 2012, 11:47 GMT

    As a kiwi living in London and preparing myself for very little sleep each night, I'm extremely excited to see this series get underway. It is very disappointing to hear the New Zealand public is already writing the black caps off, but what do you expect with Super Rugby underway and most NZ cricket fans not being fans of the game itself...

    I hope to see some sunny weather down south and a few scarfies getting a musket on the bank, the Black Caps will need on the support they can get!

  • drnaveed on March 6, 2012, 11:37 GMT

    just checking the SA cricket teams test matches progress since FEB 2009,facts are really interesting one. in 2009 SA played a home series against AUS(result 2-1 in favour of AUS).then they played a home series against ENG (result draw 1-1).in 2010 SA visited IND (result draw 1-1 ).then they visited WI, defeating them 2-0.then they played against PAK in U.A.E. (result draw 0-0 ).than they played a home series against IND (result draw 1-1 ).in 2011,they played a home series against AUS (result draw 1-1).finally in 2011-12 they played a home series against SL (result 2-1 in favour of SA).they have recently played so many drawn test series.loosing series against AUS. winning tests series against WI and SL which are not among top four test playing sides in ICC rankins,and are comparetively weaker sides.again, my SA fans will not like it, but these are real facts,which they have to digest. yes their record was far better than before FEB 2009.

  • lefoot on March 6, 2012, 11:29 GMT

    "South Africa, who play spin well"

    I don't think South Africa can actually be classified as good players of spin.

    Amla and Kallis are probably the most comfortable against spin and even the former had problems with Tarun Nethula. Apart from the two, perhaps only AB.

    The rest are goners against quality spin bowling- they play as if the the sweep is the only shot in their repertoire

  • lordrudraksh on March 6, 2012, 11:10 GMT

    where is albie morkel. has he been dropped

  • on March 6, 2012, 11:04 GMT

    i agree that south africa are best and they need to raise to the great they are.

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  • on March 6, 2012, 11:04 GMT

    i agree that south africa are best and they need to raise to the great they are.

  • lordrudraksh on March 6, 2012, 11:10 GMT

    where is albie morkel. has he been dropped

  • lefoot on March 6, 2012, 11:29 GMT

    "South Africa, who play spin well"

    I don't think South Africa can actually be classified as good players of spin.

    Amla and Kallis are probably the most comfortable against spin and even the former had problems with Tarun Nethula. Apart from the two, perhaps only AB.

    The rest are goners against quality spin bowling- they play as if the the sweep is the only shot in their repertoire

  • drnaveed on March 6, 2012, 11:37 GMT

    just checking the SA cricket teams test matches progress since FEB 2009,facts are really interesting one. in 2009 SA played a home series against AUS(result 2-1 in favour of AUS).then they played a home series against ENG (result draw 1-1).in 2010 SA visited IND (result draw 1-1 ).then they visited WI, defeating them 2-0.then they played against PAK in U.A.E. (result draw 0-0 ).than they played a home series against IND (result draw 1-1 ).in 2011,they played a home series against AUS (result draw 1-1).finally in 2011-12 they played a home series against SL (result 2-1 in favour of SA).they have recently played so many drawn test series.loosing series against AUS. winning tests series against WI and SL which are not among top four test playing sides in ICC rankins,and are comparetively weaker sides.again, my SA fans will not like it, but these are real facts,which they have to digest. yes their record was far better than before FEB 2009.

  • zn264 on March 6, 2012, 11:47 GMT

    As a kiwi living in London and preparing myself for very little sleep each night, I'm extremely excited to see this series get underway. It is very disappointing to hear the New Zealand public is already writing the black caps off, but what do you expect with Super Rugby underway and most NZ cricket fans not being fans of the game itself...

    I hope to see some sunny weather down south and a few scarfies getting a musket on the bank, the Black Caps will need on the support they can get!

  • on March 6, 2012, 11:50 GMT

    One thing for sure H.Amla will get few runs.....

  • on March 6, 2012, 12:13 GMT

    lordrudraksh: were you in hibernation? As far as i remember albie played less than 3tests for saf and out of the test team for many years.

  • Sirchris on March 6, 2012, 12:21 GMT

    @ lordrudraksh - Er, this is a test. Albie has only ever played one test back in 2009.

  • HawK89 on March 6, 2012, 12:27 GMT

    South Africa could only draw a test series against a weak australian side with a lot of problems, at home. You want NZ to do well, because SA surely do not deserve the title of #1. No one actually deserves it. Every Test nation now has a fair amount of problems. Some more than others.

  • sasi on March 6, 2012, 12:31 GMT

    @ lordrudraksh albie has till date played only 1 test. hes not much of a bowler and batting wise SA have better optoions.....