SA Invitation XI v New Zealanders, Paarl, 1st day December 28, 2012

Williamson, McCullum make it NZ's day

New Zealanders 311 for 6 (McCullum 65, Ackermann 3-46) v South African Invitation XI

The New Zealanders could not have asked for a more hospitable welcome as the one they got in the Winelands to begin their Test preparation. Temperatures hovered around the upper 20 degrees at Boland Park and the South African Invitation XI provided a tame attack to help the tourists get their eyes in ahead of the two-Test series starting next week.

Their top four batsman all had time at the crease, with the pair of whom most is expected of - Kane Williamson and Brendon McCullum - cashing in. They put on 108 for the third wicket with both making half-centuries.

Peter Fulton, who was testing out his knee injury as much as his batting, and Martin Guptill started well against the unusual action of Gino Vries. The 25-year-old from the Free State has a double hop and jump at the start of his run-up but that did not distract the opening pair, who also enjoyed the pace of under-19 bowler Travis Muller. Guptill's drives to long-on and Fulton's controlled pull shots were the highlights of their pairing.

They looked to be having a productive morning, having reached drinks on 78 without loss. But Fulton appeared to lose concentration when he lobbed the ball to the cover fielder to depart for 39. Guptill was joined by Kane Williamson, fresh from the century he scored against South Africa in Wellington. His got off the mark with an authoritative pull.

Instead of building a stand, Guptill looked in a hurry to bring up his half-century and carelessly played the ball to short midwicket off local lad Petrus Jeftha. Colin Ackermann split the chance. In Jeftha's next over, Guptill tried the same thing and Ackermann held on.

Williamson and McCullum played like men taking part in a practice match. They gave themselves time to get used to conditions before showing off some of their trademark shots. Williamson's high-elbowed drive was the treat of the middle session while McCullum scored the only six of the innings, a slog sweep off Siya Simetu.

The invitation side's bowlers lacked impetus as the tea break approached and runs were freely available. But after the interval, offspinner Colin Ackermann claimed New Zealand's marquee pair to ignite the contest. Williamson offered a catch off the bottom of his glove, which Bradley Barnes accepted.

Flynn's 34 balls were the least faced by any of the visiting batsmen. He was fairly aggressive in approach and caught at midwicket. In Ackermann's next over, McCullum was given lbw, hit in front of middle and leg.

BJ Watling and James Franklin batted untroubled as the shadows grew longer. Both seemed certain to bring up half-centuries but it is a milestone only Watling could celebrate up on the second day. Franklin was bowled by a full delivery from occasional bowler Matthew Kleinveldt (cousin of Rory, and primarily a batsman). It is also possible that the New Zealanders will declare overnight as Franklin and Watling were their last recognised batting pair -- they would want to give their bowlers a first run on a South African strip rather than have the tail spend too much time in the middle.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • David on December 29, 2012, 12:06 GMT

    What about Luke Ronchi? 3 centuries this season, and by all accounts a brilliant 'keeper. What happened to Wagner? We wait till he's gone off the boil to involve him?

  • Beau on December 29, 2012, 3:03 GMT

    Fulton has earned his chance by piling up runs at home, but I'll be surprised if he survives the first over he faces against... Take your pick. Philander, Morkel, Steyn... Sheesh. Big fella to have in the field with a suspect knee, too.

    I wonder if NZ are pondering 4 seamers? It's not like one more batsman scoring 30 is going to put any pressure on SA, but an extra bowler just might. I do hope there is some resistance from the batsman, but I can't see where it's coming from. Kane, perhaps? Watling?

    It'll be a moral victory if NZ come out of the 1st Test looking any better than SL did yesterday. But, like all NZ fans, I live in hope that I will be proven wrong.

  • David on December 29, 2012, 1:46 GMT

    "Williamson and McCullum played like men taking part in a practice match" - not really. this is just how NZ play. Lots of starts, no big scores. McCullum is nowhere near good enough to be batting at 4, even in the absence of Ryder and Taylor. He is a no.6 at best, (or opening because we don't have anyone else). Given we are going to get flogged in the Tests anyway, I'd much rather see a team full of players with a future, rather than guys like Fulton and Franklin who have been given chance after chance and been found wanting each time. I mean, who's next? Broome? Sinclair?

  • Dummy4 on December 29, 2012, 0:05 GMT

    A top NZ team would read Mccullum, Guptill, Williamson, Taylor, Flynn, Ryder, Watling, Bracewell, Southee, Boult, Patel. The likely team will be Fulton, Guptill, Williamson, Mccullum, Flynn, Watling, Franklin, Bracewell, Boult, Martin, Patel. What a difference injury and sporting politics make. SA will be licking their lips.

  • Dummy4 on December 28, 2012, 22:31 GMT

    SK5983 I agree, I wouldn't play Franklin and yes we miss Taylor & Ryder. My team though would be:Guptill,McCullum,Williamson,Flynn,Brownlie,Watling,Bracewell,Southee (if available),Boult,Mclennaghan,Hira. You need 20 wickets to win a test and NZ needs to start picking 5 wicket takers. Hira,Mclennaghan deserve a place after T20 performances, I think Patel is a gutsy player but not as good a bowler as Hira. This whole 'don't have two left arm bowlers' is a myth and a complete joke as they are completely different bowlers. Williamson/Flynn offer extra spin while Southee/Bracewell can bot hold a bat.

  • Dummy4 on December 28, 2012, 21:17 GMT

    I doubt they'll play Wagner; I think Martin will get the nod. He's got a great record against South Africa, bowls well to left-handers, and the selectors likely won't wnt 2 left-arm quicks in the team. Also, McCullum will open or bat 3.

  • Sachin on December 28, 2012, 19:19 GMT

    In test series New Zealand Should try to play with the following Team: Fulton, Guptill, Willamson, McCullum,Flynn, Brownile, Watling, Bracewell, Wagner, Boult and Patel. Play with 6+4+1 combinatio dont play franklin and waste the slot. If there are 6 good batsmen and 1 wk-batsmen it means NZ can score reasonably well and there 3 pacers will do well in this condition and will be supported by Patel and Willamson in spin dept. But i still miss Taylor and Ryder.

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