New Zealand vs South Africa, 3rd Test, Day 5 preview: Hosts on brink of levelling series
While New Zealand are on the verge of drawing the series, South Africa at 80 for 5 are in a similar spot of bother as they were in Wellington.
The series-defining match has reached the ultimate day. While New Zealand are on the verge of drawing the series, South Africa at 80 for 5 are in a similar spot of bother as they were in Wellington. They were 94 for 6 then, when Quinton de Kock and Temba Bavuma s heroics eventually led them to 359 in the first innings. Now that India have beaten Australia at Dharamsala and kept their dominance intact, South Africa need a draw to grab the No. 2 spot in ICC Test Rankings. Meanwhile, New Zealand will be eyeing to end the 13-year drought by claiming the remaining 5 wickets before South Africa erase the 95-run deficit and register their first win against South Africa since 2004 at home. Full Cricket Scorecard: New Zealand vs South Africa, 3rd Test at Hamilton
New Zealand perspective: With track offering some turn, spinners did a commendable job breaking through South Africa's top order. Jeetan Patel ended the penultimate day with figures of 2 for 22. Colin de Grandhomme, on the other hand, had a dream outing first with the bat raising his maiden Test half-century and later drawing South Africa's first blood.
New Zealand batted for 162.1 overs in the first innings, with Kane Williamson batting for 7 hours and scoring 176. After an all-round performance by the batsmen, New Zealand were bundled out for 489 building a lead of 175.
In response, Faf du Plessis and de Kock have already put up an unbeaten stand of 21 runs for the sixth wicket after they lost half the side for 59 runs. Looking at the current scenario, New Zealand are more wary of de Kock, who was the driving force for adding 90 runs to their first-innings total of 314. Assistant coach Adrian Birrell said in post-match conference, We've got a mountain to climb. If he goes into a defensive mode, it's probably the worst thing for him, so we look for him to score. Ninety-five runs, we start getting the positive, and every run in the positive is one they have to get and is time wasted.
With half the work done, all New Zealand will have to take care is, not to repeat the Wellington blunder. New Zealand on top in final session vs South Africa on Day 4, 3rd Test
South Africa perspective: South Africa began their morning on a good note with their bowlers keeping tight lengths and line. However, their batsmen threw away wickets cheaply.
Though the stakes are high, South Africa have not lost the plot yet. With the captain and wicketkeeper-batsman present at the crease, all they will have to do is keep batting, build a good lead, put New Zealand to bat, and at least save the match.
All the same, the remaining batsmen will have play out of their skin to stay on course. To make matters more demanding, some rain is expected on Day Five.
But, with the dominance shown by New Zealand, they will return on Day Five as favourites, with the aim to break decade-old spell.
South Africa 314 & 80 for 5 (Hashim Amla 19, Faf du Plessis 15*, Quinton de Kock 15*; Jeetan Patel 2 for 22) trail New Zealand 489 (Tom Latham 50, Jeet Raval 88, Kane Williamson 176, Colin de Grandhomme 57; Morne Morkel 4 for 100, Kagiso Rabada 4 for 122, Keshav Maharaj 2 for 118) by 95 runs.
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