South Africa v New Zealand, 2nd Test, Port Elizabeth, 3rd day January 13, 2013

New Zealand fight but still face huge defeat


New Zealand 157 for 4 (Brownlie 44*, Watling 41*) and 121 (Watling 63, Steyn 5-17) trail South Africa 525 for 8 dec by 247 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

It shows how low expectations have sunk when taking a Test into a fourth day classes as a success. New Zealand showed more fight after inevitably being asked to follow-on in Port Elizabeth, but still closed 247 adrift on 157 for 4. South Africa could not quite conjure the quick finish, instead it was left to the supporting cast of Robin Peterson and Rory Kleinveldt to make the inroads.

During the morning it had been Dale Steyn's show as he finished with 5 for 17, his 19th five-wicket haul, but he could not quite repeat his venom second time around. New Zealand managed their first opening stand of any value, albeit still only worth 40, and having weathered the early challenge from the quicks it will have been galling to lose two to Peterson before tea. Kleinveldt's two-in-two balls then set the platform for a three-day finish, but BJ Watling, following a first-innings 63, and Dean Brownlie added an unbroken 73 for the fifth wicket.

Kleinveldt's first success was Martin Guptill, who had been given out in the first over of the innings, as the openers faced four overs before lunch, but was easily saved by the DRS which showed Steyn's bouncer only took arm and helmet, with no glove, to the keeper. Guptill, who has been a walking wicket in whites since the tour of Sri Lanka, did not suggest permanency early in his innings but steadily grew in confidence as he survived the initial spells of Steyn and Morne Morkel.

He was given the occasional leg-side delivery to relieve the pressure and his straight-driving, often on show in limited-overs cricket, made a pleasing appearance. Graeme Smith reviewed an lbw appeal by Kleinveldt which was shown to have jagged back too much and was only clipping, then Guptill responded by crashing the next ball through the off side.

However, when Kleinveldt returned for his second spell he won the battle. His third ball caught Guptill on the back foot and took the top of off stump. The batsman suggested the delivery had kept low, but he was let down by his footwork. The same can be said of Daniel Flynn who played a flat-footed drive to complete a desperate pair. He will be very lucky to retain his place, despite New Zealand's slim resources.

Guptill had been the main run-scorer early on because Brendon McCullum played another innings contrary to his natural instincts, this time so much so that he dug himself into a hole. Clearly the captain feels under pressure not to gift his wicket, and that is understandable, but he has yet to define what sort of batsman he will be while also leading the side.

His 11 off 57 balls was his slowest Test innings over 10 (nudging ahead of his first-innings effort here) and was ended when he missed a straight delivery from Peterson which struck the back leg. Peterson settled into a probing, economical spell which allowed Smith to rotate his fast bowlers in short bursts. In the penultimate over of the session a ball skidded low and took the under-edge of Kane Williamson's cut shot into the stumps.

While New Zealand's top four have, on the whole, struggled painfully over these two Tests, Brownlie and Watling will emerge with their reputations enhanced. Brownlie showed the same counter-punching style he displayed at Newlands and Watling was quick to pick off anything loose, although also escaped with two edges off Kleinveldt - one went through the slips, the other off the inside edge past the keeper. Their resistance led to Smith bringing himself and Alviro Petersen on for rare overs as the day finished amid loud renditions of the national anthem but a slightly more sedate feel on the pitch.

During the morning New Zealand appeared to be hurtling towards another double-figure embarrassment as Steyn ripped through the lower order. However, Watling and Trent Boult added 59 for the last wicket, just three less than the other nine wickets beforehand.

Resuming on 47 for 6, which soon became 62 for 9, Steyn helped himself to a cheap haul. Doug Bracewell and Neil Wagner received testing, swinging, deliveries but Jeetan Patel again showed no stomach for the battle as he backed away to the leg side. That was too easy for Steyn.

Watling stood tall amid the wreckage during a 75-ball half-century and Boult provided unexpected support at No. 11. In the main, Boult at least tried to stay in line and hammered a straight six down the ground which resulted in a smashed window. It is about the only significant damage New Zealand have caused in this series.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • D on January 14, 2013, 9:43 GMT

    Reason Bangladesh get criticised I don't believe they ever even won test match against England Pakistan India New Zealand Australia Shri Lanka etc so that why they should not have test status maybe odi

  • Alastair on January 14, 2013, 6:38 GMT

    New Zealand need to go back to the drawing board. The key thing is to forget the averages etc etc, just look for solid technqiues - like leaving the ball, ability to play the short ball, strong on the onside, good at rotating the strike. Give these players a game and stick with them for a good 5-10 tests. Pick a dedicated keeper - that is, pick the best possible with the gloves and don't worry if they score runs. Don't even think about all-rounders.

  • Dennis on January 14, 2013, 5:21 GMT

    Time for Watling to go back to opening , he's proven he can bat time ,give him a decent run , bring Ronchi in to Keep ,as for Rutherford another Otago batsman really ,the last Otago batsman to actually contribute to NZ was Glen Turner 40 years ago .Richardson doesn,t count . Ken Rutherford av only 27 .

  • Dummy4 on January 14, 2013, 4:26 GMT

    Lol..... I feel bad for New Zealand.... And feel sorry for Bangladesh. Cause even a slightest mistake made by a Bangladeshi team, every other critics just jump on them and question about the test status. Now who's status is for taking?

  • Ryan on January 14, 2013, 4:07 GMT

    Patel and Flynn will not play Test cricket again. Their performances in this series have truly been shocking. The man who needs a turn, a decent length one, is Hamish Rutherford. This guy has shown the will to grind out runs in First Class cricket. He also is willing to learn. I know this because he struggled when he first entered the scene, he couldn't make a run to save his life. He went back to club cricket for a while and worked on his game, playing the odd game for the Volts. All the hard work and determination paid off as he has been on a golden run since last season. I would dearly like to see him get a chance, a two series chance, much like Dean Elgar.

  • Nick on January 14, 2013, 1:02 GMT

    This is the worst nz side in history, my justification for this is their collective lack of courage and fight when the going gets tough. I am a New Zealander and a cricket tragic and to see the rank cowardice sown by these imitation test cricketers makes my blood boil. Shame on all of you, especially the evil puppet master hessen.

  • Craig on January 14, 2013, 0:26 GMT

    Team for vs Eng, Watling,Redmond,McCullum,Taylor,Brownlie,Munro(Ryder),Ronchi,Vettori( B Martin).southee,Bracewell,Boult(wagner) Time to change-Tear up contracts and show that there is a consequence when you make mistakes-Hessons should be the first torn up

  • Kevin on January 13, 2013, 23:43 GMT

    NZ Problems stem from total focus on ODIs that was adopted several years ago. Look at the batting line up. Even first choice players like Taylor and Ryder are really just ODI and T20 players trying to look like test cricketers. None of them have the technique or temperament to play up the order in tests. I'm constantly amazed at how many times they get out playing bad shots to ordinary balls. NZ should be stripped of its test playing status, which would be the ultimate fulfillment of its own choice to go for flashy attacking players. McCullum as test opener? Give me a break!!! Against Fiji maybe!

  • Dummy4 on January 13, 2013, 23:39 GMT

    @Hawkseyefocussed : Why would you bring in India and BD and compare them to this series, im pretty sure you are Paki, besides India atleast managed to reach the No.1 Test spot, which is great feat in itself, they are going through a rough phase just like the Aussie were going through when all their greats retired, transition happens in all nations once legends retire.

    Good luck to New Zealand, i hope they come good in the future and work on their technique and temperament. NZ and all other nations should start building 3 teams from now onwards, 1 for T20, ODI's and Tests respectively, only then there will be a balance and nations will start performing in all 3 formats.