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Port Elizabeth: Jan 11, 2013
Captain Brendon McCullum said Wagner’s aggression in the nets had helped him earn a place in the side following New Zealand’s defeat by an innings and 27 runs in the first Test in Cape Town.
South Africa-born Wagner replaces veteran Chris Martin in one of two changes.
The other was injury-enforced with James Franklin forced out by a hamstring injury. Left-handed batsman
Colin Munro, another former South African, will take his place and, like Franklin, will be a fourth seam bowling option.
A further change is possible with left-arm spinner Bruce Martin included in a 12-man squad in case conditions call for a second spinner.
Explaining the omission of Martin, McCullum said: “While he got three wickets later on in the last Test match and bowled reasonably well, we thought the more aggressive option of Neil Wagner, especially with a potentially drier pitch and his ability to reverse swing the ball, is going to serve us better to try and even the series.”
McCullum said he had called for the bowlers to be more aggressive in the nets following the first Test defeat.
“I asked for that attitude to be raised. In the last Test match our bowlers did okay. But when you look at the South African line-up and see the aggression with which they bowled, especially at the tail, there’s a discrepancy there.
“We want our bowlers to be a little more aggressive and we asked them for that. There are two benefits in it, one is to sharpen our batsmen up and put us under pressure and get us more accustomed to what we are going to face.
“The other is to get that positive and aggressive mindset into the bowling line-up so that we are able to fight fire with fire a little bit from our seamers.”
South Africa, meanwhile, confirmed that Rory Kleinveldt will replace the injured Vernon Philander in the only change for the home side.
Captain Graeme Smith said Morne Morkel will share the new ball with Dale Steyn, a role which has been filled by Philander in his short but successful career.
Smith said he expected that South Africa would have to work harder for victory than they did in Cape Town because pitch conditions are likely to be different.
“Port Elizabeth is generally a little bit slower. Maybe (it will be) a bit harder work for bowlers and batters.
“The wind plays a big factor at this ground and there’s not really the bounce and carry that we get at our bigger stadiums around the country.”
South Africa: Graeme Smith (c), Alviro Petersen, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers (wk), Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar, Robin Peterson, Dale Steyn, Rory Kleinveldt, Morne Morkel.
New Zealand (from): Brendon McCullum (c), Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson, Dean Brownlie, Daniel Flynn, BJ Watling (wk), Colin Munro, Doug Bracewell, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult, Jeetan Patel, Bruce Martin.
Umpires: Ian Gould (ENG), Kumar Dharmasena (SRI). TV umpire: Rod Tucker (AUS). Match referee: David Boon (AUS).
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