South Africa in New Zealand 2011-12 March 21, 2012

Summer success hinges on third Test - Vettori

  shares 22

The third Test match against South Africa will play a defining role in New Zealand's summer, Daniel Vettori, the New Zealand allrounder, has said. After beating Australia in Hobart last year and dominating Zimbabwe in all three formats, New Zealand have had their victories put in perspective by a strong South Africa side.

South Africa have already claimed the Twenty20 and ODI trophies and cannot lose the Test series after they beat New Zealand by nine wickets in Hamilton. Their dominance now threatens to overshadow the host's achievements from earlier in the season. "It's [the third Test] pretty influential on our summer," Vettori said. "If we can scrap back from this Test match, it's been overall a very successful summer. If not, then I think we will remember it for that loss. It's really important, the boys understand that. They have done it in the past and this is an opportunity to try and do it again."

Although New Zealand find themselves trailing going into the final Test, Vettori feels they have been able to go toe-to-toe with South Africa for the majority of the time. The difference has been the ability of South Africa's batsmen to stick around that little bit longer even when the bowler's have been on top. South Africa had three centurions in the Dunedin Test while New Zealand had none. South Africa's top scorer in Hamilton was AB de Villiers, who battled for his 83, New Zealand's was Kane Williamson, who looked well set for more than his eventual total of 77.

"Unfortunately we let ourselves down with the bat in the first Test and we fought back with the ball and then let ourselves down again with the bat," Vettori said. "That's been the talk from Wrighty [John Wright] and Ross [Taylor} so far: applying ourselves with the bat and putting a score on the board for our three seamers to make the most of these conditions."

South Africa's bowlers have dealt New Zealand such heavy blows that they have had to drop one of the four-prongs in their seam attack to make room for an extra batsman. For the past three matches, New Zealand have played only five specialist batsmen and have been found wanting. So they have changed the balance of their team and will go into the Wellington Test with three fast bowlers and Vettori, who thinks that being without one of their quicks should not make too much difference.

"If the fourth seamer hasn't bowled as well as he would have liked him to in both Test matches, it just puts more onus on the other guys," he said. Tim Southee was the under-performing fourth seamer in Dunedin while Brent Arnel failed to impress in Hamilton. Although being without either of them will give the back-up bowlers extra responsibility, Vettori said they will view it as a chance to make an impact. "Maybe it will give a little bit of work for Dean Brownlie and Kane Williamson as well. We will look at it as a chance to bowl more overs and hopefully take more wickets."

The conditions will also mean that Vettori's role in the attack is clear. "With our three seamers, who are generally wicket-takers, they want a guy who can hold up an end," he said. "At the Basin, it's something that I have always been used to because of the wind. I think on days when it's fine and I am able to attack and I have done reasonably well here."

What Vettori hopes is that because New Zealand will only go into the match with four frontline bowlers, they will respond to their responsibilities with more urgency. "It's important that as a bowling group you know your roles and I think that's what South Africa do very well," he said. "When one guy is attacking, they can hold it up from another end and let that guy continue to attack so that's what we want to achieve in this Test."

Edited by Tariq Engineer

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on March 22, 2012, 3:33 GMT

    We need Nethula deserves his place. he beat the south africans in napier on a batting track.

  • spesh on March 22, 2012, 2:47 GMT

    Why is there major support for Nethula? The guy looks promising sure, but a first class average of over 38 and a return of 4 wickets at 97 in his last 3 plunket shield games won't scare Amla, Kallis & co. Everyone wants to see a legspinner, but surely form is the key factor in any selection? NZ's best chance of winning is a green seamer and we roll the dice ala Hobart.

  • __PK on March 22, 2012, 0:52 GMT

    WHAT? The Blackcaps win one test narrowly against Australia and get spanked in the other, despite the Australian side rebuilding and disrupted with injury and the tests being played on the two wickets with the most assistance for seamers. Then they beat Zimbabwe (hooray, that was unexpected). Now all of a sudden, Vettori says that if they can pull off the greatest upset of the last few years and beat South Africa, they can regard it as a good season! Hillarious!

  • Shongololo on March 22, 2012, 0:06 GMT

    Hey Firdose, did you actually watch AB de Villiers' innings of 83 in Hamilton? He did anything but battle, he stood head and shoulders above all other batsmen so superior was his knock. He looked at ease, played some beautiful strokes and was only dismissed in a freakish manner. I'm afraid I can draw only two possible conclusions - you either didn't watch AB's innings or you know very little about cricket.

  • on March 21, 2012, 23:38 GMT

    NZ are in a bad position any way you look at it. Their bowlers have had two cracks at bowling SA out twice and failed. This was with a bowler-heavy selection. Their batting line-up has been bowled out twice with only 3 50s between them (two from McCullum). If NZ drop a bowler for a bastman they are admitting that 20 wickets is not a possibility and they are hoping that the batsman can help force a draw at best. If they stick with a bowler heavy lineup they are expecting better results from pretty much the same guys who haven't done the job yet. Picking Nethula is probably the most attacking selection they could make but will the pitch play along with that?

  • Patchmaster on March 21, 2012, 23:02 GMT

    I think they have to pick Nethula, they have to go for the win, and even though the batsman aren;t performing, you can't keep picking extra batters to cover. They have to trust in the batsmen they have and go with five bowlers. In NZ we tend to really critisize our team, which is massively unfair, we have tiny financial resources and yet still beat AUS and in the last match Mark Gillespie had SA on the rack, so it's not all doom and gloom folks ! C'mon the blackcaps !

  • teo. on March 21, 2012, 22:23 GMT

    The 2 countries that have always produced more allrounders than the rest of the world were SA and NZ.... where are NZ's allrounders now????? that would CERTAINLY help the balance of the side!! the old guard of Harris, Cairns, Oram etc... where are their successors??? not rely on Vettori as the principle allrounder..

  • on March 21, 2012, 22:02 GMT

    Tell me Vettori is kidding when he says "we have been toe-to-toe with South Africa" for the majority of the time. The Black Caps haven't even been in the same league since the first T20. They got outplayed in the ODI's, rain saved them in the first test, and they got demolished inside 3 days in the second. Who does Vettori think he is kidding?

  • Supa_SAFFA on March 21, 2012, 21:32 GMT

    This match will define SA's summer too, at least as far as test cricket goes. Will the team resume a trend of losing focus once they're ahead? Will they emerge as credible contenders for the no 1 ranking or as merely moderately competitive over-hyped also-rans.

  • on March 21, 2012, 21:25 GMT

    NZers are gutsy cricketers and therefore won't simply roll over when confronted by a better team in all aspects of the game (at least on paper). In theory this should be an easy test for SA, but SA has shown over the last few seasons that they find it very difficult to perform well after a big win. So a big test of how SA progressed mentally under Kirsten. Also, I hope that a spin friendly pitch can greet Tahir...

  • on March 22, 2012, 3:33 GMT

    We need Nethula deserves his place. he beat the south africans in napier on a batting track.

  • spesh on March 22, 2012, 2:47 GMT

    Why is there major support for Nethula? The guy looks promising sure, but a first class average of over 38 and a return of 4 wickets at 97 in his last 3 plunket shield games won't scare Amla, Kallis & co. Everyone wants to see a legspinner, but surely form is the key factor in any selection? NZ's best chance of winning is a green seamer and we roll the dice ala Hobart.

  • __PK on March 22, 2012, 0:52 GMT

    WHAT? The Blackcaps win one test narrowly against Australia and get spanked in the other, despite the Australian side rebuilding and disrupted with injury and the tests being played on the two wickets with the most assistance for seamers. Then they beat Zimbabwe (hooray, that was unexpected). Now all of a sudden, Vettori says that if they can pull off the greatest upset of the last few years and beat South Africa, they can regard it as a good season! Hillarious!

  • Shongololo on March 22, 2012, 0:06 GMT

    Hey Firdose, did you actually watch AB de Villiers' innings of 83 in Hamilton? He did anything but battle, he stood head and shoulders above all other batsmen so superior was his knock. He looked at ease, played some beautiful strokes and was only dismissed in a freakish manner. I'm afraid I can draw only two possible conclusions - you either didn't watch AB's innings or you know very little about cricket.

  • on March 21, 2012, 23:38 GMT

    NZ are in a bad position any way you look at it. Their bowlers have had two cracks at bowling SA out twice and failed. This was with a bowler-heavy selection. Their batting line-up has been bowled out twice with only 3 50s between them (two from McCullum). If NZ drop a bowler for a bastman they are admitting that 20 wickets is not a possibility and they are hoping that the batsman can help force a draw at best. If they stick with a bowler heavy lineup they are expecting better results from pretty much the same guys who haven't done the job yet. Picking Nethula is probably the most attacking selection they could make but will the pitch play along with that?

  • Patchmaster on March 21, 2012, 23:02 GMT

    I think they have to pick Nethula, they have to go for the win, and even though the batsman aren;t performing, you can't keep picking extra batters to cover. They have to trust in the batsmen they have and go with five bowlers. In NZ we tend to really critisize our team, which is massively unfair, we have tiny financial resources and yet still beat AUS and in the last match Mark Gillespie had SA on the rack, so it's not all doom and gloom folks ! C'mon the blackcaps !

  • teo. on March 21, 2012, 22:23 GMT

    The 2 countries that have always produced more allrounders than the rest of the world were SA and NZ.... where are NZ's allrounders now????? that would CERTAINLY help the balance of the side!! the old guard of Harris, Cairns, Oram etc... where are their successors??? not rely on Vettori as the principle allrounder..

  • on March 21, 2012, 22:02 GMT

    Tell me Vettori is kidding when he says "we have been toe-to-toe with South Africa" for the majority of the time. The Black Caps haven't even been in the same league since the first T20. They got outplayed in the ODI's, rain saved them in the first test, and they got demolished inside 3 days in the second. Who does Vettori think he is kidding?

  • Supa_SAFFA on March 21, 2012, 21:32 GMT

    This match will define SA's summer too, at least as far as test cricket goes. Will the team resume a trend of losing focus once they're ahead? Will they emerge as credible contenders for the no 1 ranking or as merely moderately competitive over-hyped also-rans.

  • on March 21, 2012, 21:25 GMT

    NZers are gutsy cricketers and therefore won't simply roll over when confronted by a better team in all aspects of the game (at least on paper). In theory this should be an easy test for SA, but SA has shown over the last few seasons that they find it very difficult to perform well after a big win. So a big test of how SA progressed mentally under Kirsten. Also, I hope that a spin friendly pitch can greet Tahir...

  • on March 21, 2012, 20:50 GMT

    I still think NZ should be heading in with 5 bowlers. An attack of Martin, Bracewell, Gillepse and Vettori simply don't have the teeth to bowl SA out twice. A fifth bowler not only gives another option but allows the other 4 to stay fresher and bowl better. I also think an extra batsmen won't help put runs on the board. The current top 6 are only averaging 27 or so between them in this series so how many more runs can you expect from adding another batsmen? Another 27? How will that help? My team would be Guptill, McCullum, Williamson, Taylor, Flynn/ Brownlie, Vettori, Van Wyk, Bracewell, Gillespe, Nethula, Martin. Nethula deserves a shot regardless off the wicket. 3 seamers, a leggie and Vettori looks like a unit that can get 20 wickets. We have been outclassed so far but the games have swung back and forth and NZ should be looking to the future with positivity and stick with the 5 bowlers.

  • on March 21, 2012, 20:26 GMT

    Agree with Frank-Rizzo on that team ... not to sure why you would open with Flynn. The NZ domestic Comp in no way prepares you for the likes of SA and even though I rate him I'd expect him to struggle. The difference between what he was facing when he got his 2 recent tons and what he'll face in the test is crazy. McCullum has basically opened in each innings so why not go with him and Guptill. I'd even rather have Van Wyk open, can't see him setting the world on fire but he has guts and has a knack of being able to stick around.....

  • on March 21, 2012, 20:10 GMT

    Most of SA sides knows about windy conditions as they play for coastal sides back home.The SA side is brimming full of confidence,talent and motivation so its a side raring to go.NZ should not be written off or discounted.Its an intriguing prospect. The number one allrounder needs to perform in his last test in the land of the long white cloud. No SA should pull it off bar the weather.

  • on March 21, 2012, 19:07 GMT

    I think NZ will go for a spin friendly pitch and that will be Imran Tahir's big test opportunity, for sure, and simultaneously NZ's BIGGEST mistake. He has not been bad for the Proteas, hanging around the outskirts; to good to leave out of the side, but not what you would call devastating either, picking up only a wicket or two here and there. Give him a spin friendly pitch, however, and he will cause absolute carnage among the NZ batsmen, no matter where they bat and a name the Black Caps will want to forget very quickly. Come on Imran, show these Kiwis what you are made of!

  • TommytuckerSaffa on March 21, 2012, 18:28 GMT

    test likely to be a washed out with more crappy Kiwi weather. Does the sun ever shine there? 10 degrees in the last test match, is it mid winter there?

  • Moneypenny on March 21, 2012, 13:28 GMT

    If vettori can bat the same way what he did against Aussies then things will turn around.I hope he hits a double century in first innings and then take 10 wickets in this match which he is quite capable of.But I personally think SA is the best side in the world today though not of the same caliber as great WI and Aus sides of past. If somehow SA could have Saeed Ajmal in their side it probably would be very very close to the 2 great sides we all know. Good luck to the Newzealand and my favourite player "danny boy".

  • teo. on March 21, 2012, 13:18 GMT

    Makes good sense. All the best.

  • on March 21, 2012, 12:04 GMT

    New Zealand don't have what it takes to beat SA.Even India didn't when they toured basically no one can. unless if they really want u to. Steyn-Philander-Morkel-Tahir....+......Amla-Kallis-de Villiers===AbSOLUTE DOMINATION

  • on March 21, 2012, 11:45 GMT

    if you are going to go in with 4 front line bowlers Philander, Steyn and Morkel arent a bad first 3

  • sammykent on March 21, 2012, 11:31 GMT

    To go into a Test series against Sth Africa with a bowling heavy side was always a risky strategy. James Franklin would offer some good balance, having the ability to hold up and end and score runs. Vettori is good enough to bat almost anywhere but having him at 7 (actually 8 because Martin doesn't count) puts a sting in the tail. Pushing the experienced batsmen down the order is a great idea as the top order will likely fold, at least they can take the shine off the ball for the good batsmen to score more runs against a more fatigued attack. Give McCullum the impression he needs to get a hurry on and he could score more freely by playing his natural game. Give Franklin a chance in the middle order. Taylor has a Test Batsmen temperament so put him at 3. This is a team on the up with great potential, finding the balance is the key to better results.

  • Frank_Rizzo on March 21, 2012, 11:29 GMT

    Rain is expected during the test leaving a completed result unlikely unless we see another brilliant blackcap's collapse. Unsure whether Flynn should be opening, he will be getting thrown in the deep end at this stage. My XI would be 1-Guptill 2-McCullum 3-Williamson 4-Taylor 5-Flynn 6-Brownlie 7-Vettori 8-Van Wyk 9-Bracewell 10-Gillespie 11-Martin

  • stormy16 on March 21, 2012, 11:19 GMT

    This really is a monumental challenge for NZ with SA holding all the big guns. I think NZ's best chance is to try something different - not sure what that may be but if they look for a everydat scrap against SA they will get blown away. The horrible thing with SA you cant prepare a wicket to suit Vittori as Tahir will be also be a handful but that's the only way out for NZ. Vittori is experienced and NZ have to back him and their ability to handle Tahir - anything else SA will be too good.

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  • stormy16 on March 21, 2012, 11:19 GMT

    This really is a monumental challenge for NZ with SA holding all the big guns. I think NZ's best chance is to try something different - not sure what that may be but if they look for a everydat scrap against SA they will get blown away. The horrible thing with SA you cant prepare a wicket to suit Vittori as Tahir will be also be a handful but that's the only way out for NZ. Vittori is experienced and NZ have to back him and their ability to handle Tahir - anything else SA will be too good.

  • Frank_Rizzo on March 21, 2012, 11:29 GMT

    Rain is expected during the test leaving a completed result unlikely unless we see another brilliant blackcap's collapse. Unsure whether Flynn should be opening, he will be getting thrown in the deep end at this stage. My XI would be 1-Guptill 2-McCullum 3-Williamson 4-Taylor 5-Flynn 6-Brownlie 7-Vettori 8-Van Wyk 9-Bracewell 10-Gillespie 11-Martin

  • sammykent on March 21, 2012, 11:31 GMT

    To go into a Test series against Sth Africa with a bowling heavy side was always a risky strategy. James Franklin would offer some good balance, having the ability to hold up and end and score runs. Vettori is good enough to bat almost anywhere but having him at 7 (actually 8 because Martin doesn't count) puts a sting in the tail. Pushing the experienced batsmen down the order is a great idea as the top order will likely fold, at least they can take the shine off the ball for the good batsmen to score more runs against a more fatigued attack. Give McCullum the impression he needs to get a hurry on and he could score more freely by playing his natural game. Give Franklin a chance in the middle order. Taylor has a Test Batsmen temperament so put him at 3. This is a team on the up with great potential, finding the balance is the key to better results.

  • on March 21, 2012, 11:45 GMT

    if you are going to go in with 4 front line bowlers Philander, Steyn and Morkel arent a bad first 3

  • on March 21, 2012, 12:04 GMT

    New Zealand don't have what it takes to beat SA.Even India didn't when they toured basically no one can. unless if they really want u to. Steyn-Philander-Morkel-Tahir....+......Amla-Kallis-de Villiers===AbSOLUTE DOMINATION

  • teo. on March 21, 2012, 13:18 GMT

    Makes good sense. All the best.

  • Moneypenny on March 21, 2012, 13:28 GMT

    If vettori can bat the same way what he did against Aussies then things will turn around.I hope he hits a double century in first innings and then take 10 wickets in this match which he is quite capable of.But I personally think SA is the best side in the world today though not of the same caliber as great WI and Aus sides of past. If somehow SA could have Saeed Ajmal in their side it probably would be very very close to the 2 great sides we all know. Good luck to the Newzealand and my favourite player "danny boy".

  • TommytuckerSaffa on March 21, 2012, 18:28 GMT

    test likely to be a washed out with more crappy Kiwi weather. Does the sun ever shine there? 10 degrees in the last test match, is it mid winter there?

  • on March 21, 2012, 19:07 GMT

    I think NZ will go for a spin friendly pitch and that will be Imran Tahir's big test opportunity, for sure, and simultaneously NZ's BIGGEST mistake. He has not been bad for the Proteas, hanging around the outskirts; to good to leave out of the side, but not what you would call devastating either, picking up only a wicket or two here and there. Give him a spin friendly pitch, however, and he will cause absolute carnage among the NZ batsmen, no matter where they bat and a name the Black Caps will want to forget very quickly. Come on Imran, show these Kiwis what you are made of!

  • on March 21, 2012, 20:10 GMT

    Most of SA sides knows about windy conditions as they play for coastal sides back home.The SA side is brimming full of confidence,talent and motivation so its a side raring to go.NZ should not be written off or discounted.Its an intriguing prospect. The number one allrounder needs to perform in his last test in the land of the long white cloud. No SA should pull it off bar the weather.