Charl Langeveldt, South Africa's bowling coach, has asked for more discipline from his attack, who he admitted will have to "box smart" on a tricky Dunedin pitch. Although Langeveldt believes New Zealand probably got the best of the surface on the first morning, when there was variable bounce, he believes South Africa could still tighten up and take control of the match.
"If you're going to have attacking fields, you are going to leak runs. In hindsight, we went for too many fours," Langeveldt said. "Kane (Williamson) put us under pressure, especially against the spinner. He didn't let the spinner settle down. Just blocking up one end would have been ideal. But Kane was on fire. Jeetan put us under pressure as well."
Not only did Williamson score freely off Keshav Maharaj, but he also took runs off Kagiso Rabada, who struggled with a slight stomach bug. Rabada's illness was not serious enough to prevent him from taking the field, and Langeveldt is confident he will return with more venom on the third morning, but has invested most of his hopes in the team's ability to strike early and find reverse-swing.
"This is like a Port Elizabeth wicket. At the end there was a hint of reverse, so hopefully that will work in our favour," Langeveldt said. "We have to box smart and try and contain Kane Williamson. He's the key. I'm not sure whether Ross Taylor is going to come back but he's a good batsman and they've got a few allrounders coming in. So we still have to bowl well to get them out. Tomorrow morning I feel we'll have that opportunity, and then we need to box smart after that."
Taylor left the field with a calf injury and had scans at the university hospital. There is no definitive call on his availability for the rest of the match. Whether or not he returns, South Africa still have some big hitters and quick run-scorers to contend with, including Jimmy Neesham. Langeveldt would like to see his bowlers emulate New Zealand and squeeze a first-innings lead. "They bowled brilliantly and built pressure from both ends," he said.
Almost a third (32%) of the 122.4 overs New Zealand bowled were maidens, and they kept South Africa's scoring rate to 2.51, as part of a plan to frustrate the opposition's powerful line-up. "We were just looking to grip the ball and ask tough questions and not let them get too far ahead," Trent Boult explained. "Everyone applied pressure in different stages, so it was easy for Kane to move between bowlers and not let that foot up. Stepping up maidens and dot balls was a big part of our plan, but there's still a lot of work to be done."
By comparison, South Africa's maidens efficiency was only 23%, and allowed New Zealand to score at 3.21. Still, Langeveldt believes the bowlers can make something happen, especially because Morne Morkel, who made a return after 14 months on the sidelines nursing a back injury, seems to be making a strong comeback. "His pace was up, he bowled a good amount of overs, he bowled really well and he got the ball in good areas. But the key thing was that Morne Morkel's pace was up and he was bowling at 100%," Langeveldt said.