SA Invitation XI v New Zealanders, Paarl, 3rd day December 30, 2012

New Zealanders left with much to ponder

New Zealanders 311 for 6 dec (McCullum 65, Ackermann 3-46) and 117 for 2 (Guptill 68*) drew with South African Invitational XI 359 for 7 dec (Kleinveldt 78, C Martin 2-39)

The New Zealanders gained further time with bat and ball on the final day of their practice match in Paarl but it left them with plenty to ponder. The bowlers only managed one further wicket, and seven overall, which will lead to questions about their ability to bowl a side out, especially as they were up against an XI made up of mostly amateur and under-19 players.

Martin Guptill benefited most from time in the middle but the main concern with the bat was Dean Brownlie who scored just 6 after recovering from a stomach bug.

Of the South African Invitation side, Keegan Petersen who plays for the local Boland amateur team impressed with both temperament and technique to deny a frustrated attack. Petrus Jeftha and Siya Simetu were the wicket-takers with aggression from the former and flight from the latter their stand-out features.

Four overs into the day, the New Zealanders' bowlers found their only success when Chris Martin had Shaun Libisch caught on the leg side. He did not add to his overnight score of 4 but Petersen was piling runs on with ease having survived an lbw appeal off Trent Boult that no-one but the bowler and wicketkeeper were interested in.

It was with his drive through midwicket that the Invitation side overtook the New Zealanders' score. With nothing to assist the bowlers the spinners were left to do the bulk of the work. The only other chance came three overs before lunch when Petersen smacked a Jeetan Patel delivery straight back at the bowler and although Patel got fingers to it he couldn't hold on.

While Petersen racked up runs on one end, Jeftha accumulated swiftly but almost without being noticed at the other. He brought up his half-century with a towering six over midwicket in the penultimate over before the break. The Invitation side declared at the interval to allow the New Zealanders more time in the middle but only Guptill cashed in.

The Test opening pair of Guptill and McCullum put on 63 inside 13 overs with McCullum playing a carefree knock. Playing in such a style it was not a surprise when McCullum, who had made 65 in the first innings, picked out a fielder behind square. It was of no consequence here, but New Zealand will need his shot selection in top order come the Test.

Brownlie was given permission to bat although he was not named in the tourists original 12 because of his illness. With Peter Fulton ruled out of the tour a concession was made but Brownlie did not make full use of his opportunity. He was tentative for the 13 minutes he spent at the crease and given out lbw to Jeftha having faced only 14 balls of competitive cricket before the first Test. He has, however, recovered from the virus which laid him low.

Guptill continued to bat with confidence and his pull shot came out on numerous occasions, while Daniel Flynn accompanied him to the early end when the players shook hands at tea. Guptill was not entirely satisfied with the time he had in the middle and headed straight to the nets, while Kane Williamson, James Franklin and BJ Watling had to be content with one innings.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dave on December 31, 2012, 11:03 GMT

    Why stop the game at tea? The young SA players need the exposure and the NZ need all the batting practice they can get and then some!

    Is the No 1 ranking for SA under pressure in this series???

  • Garry on December 31, 2012, 10:02 GMT

    Without Ryder, Taylor, Vetorri, Southee and Mills it s pretty much a New Zealand B team we have other there. The only decent players in the team are Boult and Guptil, the rest are the same quality as the South African Invitational XI.

  • Great on December 31, 2012, 4:26 GMT

    The team they played aren't amateurs but full time professionals. It is like County cricket B league.

  • jared on December 31, 2012, 1:59 GMT

    bracewell is spraying the ball everywhere but should start the first test my concern is how bad the spinners are i wouldn't play either and play 4 seamers and give kane williamson a few more overs as a spinner. I'd play wagner, all the kiwi bowlers will do a job with the new ball but he is the only guy who can bowl and still threaten with reverse swing with the old ball, mcglenachan would also play, he has pace and unsettled a few quality players with his aggression including faf, trent boult picks himself so martin would miss out, he just doesn't have it anymore, if he plays i hope he does well but would rather the others there.

  • Beau on December 31, 2012, 0:26 GMT

    It looks as if NZ will now go for 7 batsmen & Patel, and probably Martin. Presumably, Ghost will nick a couple out. Patel and Bracewell will pick up one or two each on a boundary or a mishit to cover. The batsmen will average between 20 and 30 runs per wicket. I am therefore comfortable predicting that NZ will win the 1st Test if Trent Boult takes a minimum of 13 to 16 wickets while conceding a maximum of 13 to 16 runs. Best of luck, Trent. No pressure.

  • Jordan on December 30, 2012, 21:28 GMT

    I agree with HawK to an extent.

    Without Southee the NZ attack looks far weaker. The Boult and Southee combination both swinging different ways never let the batsman settle. But the new bowling partnerships don't offer that same danger.

    However... This wicket was as batter-friendly as you can get. Much more so than what the test matches will be played on. NZ batted how NZ bat, they made scores without following on... On top of that NZ didnt even seem to put in much effort either, they seemed more worried about trying different shots and getting some form rather than trying to stay in for long periods.

    The bowling was average, though. Never looked dangerous, but in saying that, they were bowling against good batsman on a very batter friendly wicket, who btw, had something to prove as they are the future of south african cricket, they were doing their best to make an impact and be noticed.

    The BC's were "training" against a side who saw this match as an extremely important one.

  • Jeremy on December 30, 2012, 20:44 GMT

    NZ only had one actual bowler who was Trent Boult. Without Southee and Bracewell out of form, there isn't much hope in the upcoming matches. Might as well just let the new players have a game and see where they are at, as far as international cricket is concerned.

  • Reg on December 30, 2012, 19:44 GMT

    Guptill really is pushing his luck. Working hard AND succeeding in the middle! Why on earth doesn't someone warn him of the risks he is running . . .

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