Graeme Smith looks on during a training session ahead of the opening Test © Getty Images
Cape Town: Jan 2, 2013
Graeme Smith-led South Africa will aim to keep their winning run intact as they take on New Zealand in the first Test match at Cape Town, starting on Wednesday.
The hosts will begin the New Year by aiming to strengthen their No.1 status in the ICC Test Championship Table, when they play a two-match series against New Zealand from Jan 2 at Cape Town.
South Africa currently lead the rankings with 123 rating points and have a five-point lead over second-placed England. Graeme Smith‘s side retained the Test Championship Mace in December 2012 after it defeated Australia 1-0.
South African opening bowler Vernon Philander is “provisionally fit” for the first Test against New Zealand starting at Newlands on Wednesday.
“He’s come through his fitness test well,” said captain Graeme Smith on Tuesday. “Unless he stiffens up later today or tonight he’s fit to play.”
South Africa: Graeme Smith(c), Alviro Petersen, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers (wk), Dean Elgar, Faf du Plessis, Robin Peterson, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel.
New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Brendon McCullum (c), Kane Williamson, BJ Watling (wk), Daniel Flynn, Dean Brownlie, James Franklin, Doug Bracewell, Jeetan Patel, Trent Boult, Chris Martin.
Catch live scores and ball-by-ball commentary of the first day’s play between South Africa and New Zealand here
(With inputs from agencies)