|New Zealand prepare for hostile bowling
New Zealand batsmen were subjected to a barrage of hostile deliveries from their own bowlers as they prepared to combat South Africa's formidable attack in the second and final cricket test against South Africa starting at St George's Park tomorrow.
“Now that you know the challenge, the intensity and attitude that you put into training has to be as close to a match as possible,’’ said fast bowler Chris Martin in explaining his team's unorthodox preparation, AFP reports.
New Zealand were blown away for 45 in the first innings of the first test in Cape Town on the way to defeat by an innings and 27 runs. The damage was done by South Africa's pace trio of Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel.
Although Philander will miss the second test because of a hamstring strain, New Zealand's batsmen will again face a formidable challenge from Steyn, Morkel, Jacques Kallis and Rory Kleinveldt, who will replace Philander.
The first test ended inside three days. While the South Africans were given three days off before reassembling in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday, the Black Caps were in the nets the day after the test ended.
There is such a wide gulf between world champions South Africa and eighth-ranked New Zealand that the host nation will drop a point on the International Cricket Council rankings if they win the series 1-0.
New Zealand are unlikely to encounter conditions as bowler-friendly as they were on the first day at Newlands. The St George's Park pitch has traditionally had less pace and bounce than other test venues in South Africa, although much could depend on the amount of grass left on the surface – and which way the wind is blowing.
An easterly wind off the sea tends to favor swing and seam bowling, while a westerly from inland usually means good batting conditions.
South Africa will again start as hot favorites. All of their top five batsmen are ranked inside the first 20 on the latest ICC ranking list, whereas the highest-placed New Zealander in the tour party is captain Brendon McCullum at 25.