New Zealand's chance to prove their worth
January 11-15, 2013
Start time 1030 local (0830 GMT)
Having been advised to stay at home by some commentators, New Zealand did little in the first Test to rubbish that suggestion. They have another chance to prove their presence in South Africa was better for international cricket than not.
To give South Africa a game, New Zealand have to find some runs. Many teams would have been bowled out for 150 on the opening day in Cape Town, but being dismantled for 45 was an injustice to the ability that remains in the New Zealand order, even with all their absentees. Dean Brownlie showed the way in the second innings, and Martin Guptill and Kane Williamson can build similar innings.
And if they can put a score on the board, they have the bowling to create problems for their opponents. Trent Boult and Doug Bracewell have won Tests in Hobart - when New Zealand only scored 150 in the first innings - and Colombo in recent times. And just over 12 months ago, South Africa were being rolled over by Sri Lanka in Durban. They will also be adjusting to a venue they have not played at for six years, and the fact that New Zealand are considering playing two spinners suggests conditions are different to Cape Town.
It has been five years since South Africa swept a major nation at home, when they won both Tests of the two-match series against New Zealand, and they will be keen to dismiss the same opponents 2-0 and avoid any disturbance to their preparation for the Pakistan series.
The task has become a little more challenging with the withdrawal of Vernon Philander, but his absence gives Rory Kleinveldt his third Test. Developing depth in their bowling attack will be important if South Africa are to enjoy a long stint at No. 1.
Form guide(Most recent first)
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In the spotlight
Brendon McCullum is the last man standing from the older crop of players. But he has not made a Test century since 2010. Thrust into captaincy, he desperately needs to supply his side with a bright start. A player of his ability and experience needs to deliver if his side are going to be competitive. In the manner of Virender Sehwag, he can quickly change the mood of his team and New Zealand need a boost badly at the moment.
Robin Petersen finds himself back as the No. 1 spinner after Imran Tahir's decline in Australia. South Africa saw Tahir as the attacking spinner to finally complete their attack but have sent him away to regain his form. Petersen will hope to prove he is more than a stop-gap solution to the spinner's void, and that his ability with the bat and left-arm spin can be the best permanent fit in the side.
One change is confirmed for South Africa. Rory Kleinveldt replaces Vernon Philander because of an injury to his left hamstring. The rest of the XI stays the same.
South Africa: 1 Graeme Smith (capt), 2 Alviro Petersen, 3 Hashim Amla, 4 Jacques Kallis, 5 AB de Villiers (wk), 6 Dean Elgar, 7 Faf du Plessis, 8 Robin Peterson, 9 Rory Kleinveldt, 10 Dale Steyn, 11 Morne Morkel
New Zealand have no room for manoeuvring their batting line up so the only changes they have made are in the bowling attack. James Franklin has a hamstring injury, so Colin Munro will make his debut. Neil Wagner replaces Chris Martin for his third Test and first since the West Indies tour. They may also play two spinners with Bruce Martin, an experienced slow left-armer, in the 12.
New Zealand: 1 Martin Guptill, 2 Brendon McCullum (capt), 3 Kane Williamson, 4 Dean Brownlie, 5 Daniel Flynn, 6 BJ Watling (wk), 7 Colin Munro, 8 Doug Bracewell, 9 Trent Boult, 10 Jeetan Patel, 11 Neil Wagner/Bruce Martin
Pitch and conditions
The pitch in Port Elizabeth should be slow and low as usual. No rain is forecast, but serious winds, and if it's the South Easter, it will come off the sea and will increase moisture around the ground. That's expected on the second day.
Stats and trivia
- This will be the 24th Test played at St George's Park but the first since December 2007 when West Indies won by 128 runs.
- South Africa have lost their last three Tests on the ground. Their last victory came in 2000 with a seven wicket win over New Zealand.
- That was one of three Tests New Zealand have played at St George's, they also lost on their first visit in 1950 but won by 40 runs in 1962.
"At home, it's easy to slip into the mould of this is what we do in South Africa but Port Elizabeth is slightly different and we need to be able to shift the mindset." Graeme Smith on the different conditions that can be expected at St George's.
"We've learnt some lessons from what happened to us in the first Test, and we want to improve on that performance." Brendon McCullum addresses the obvious.