Hosts New Zealand haven’t quite managed to get a lot of things right in the series. There have been doing well but in parts and that hasn’t helped them ace ahead of the Proteas who now have a lead in the Test series with a win at Basin Reserve. Ahead of the third Test, the Black Caps would have wanted Ross Taylor to return to the squad but the veteran hasn’t managed to recover from the calf injury and will miss out from the last game as well.
The New Zealand selectors have decided to retain the same squad for the last match selector Gavin Larsen felt that they didn’t need to make any changes as they have utmost trust on the bunch of players that are a part of the team at the moment. “We’ve got 100% faith in the fact that we’ve got what we think are the best group of Test cricketers in the country,” he said.
“It’s about getting into Hamilton, getting the covers off, having a look at the pitch, having a look at some balance, thinking about what transpired down here in Wellington and about the best way to beat a very good South African team. I am very confident the coach and captain will come up with the right XI on the day.” Larsen added.
Their opener Tom Latham has scored 10, 8 and 6 in the first two Tests and that has hurt them most but with the 24-year-old being the most reliant option they have at hand the selectors are persistent with him.
“He is a classy player, a great individual and part of our leadership team. He is in a rut and he is battling a bit with his form but we believe he has got the character and the work ethic to work himself out of this rut,” Larsen said talking of Latham. “If there were a number of candidates around the country who were absolutely shooting the lights out and putting in front of the selectors really compelling reasons that we needed to consider them and pick them, we would have had that conversation. But as you know, there aren’t a lot of openers out there shooting the lights out.”
Neil Broom their No.4 in the lineup was expected to fill in for Taylor but he bagged a duck in his maiden knock and a 20 in the follow-up. “In the first innings, he was really unlucky. He got a real peach of a delivery, a jaffa, and that can happen,” Larsen said.
“In the second innings, I thought he got his innings underway really well. It was testing against the ball that was moving around. Vernon Philander bowled extremely well to him and he navigated that successfully so it was disappointing when he nicked off for 20. Again, it was to a good one so we have faith that Neil will do the job at No. 4.” He added.
Broom is a part of the XI only until Taylor is back to take his place, Larsen said, “His (Taylor’s) experience and his class is just so evident and he would have been straight back into the unit,”
New Zealand squad for the 3rd Test:
Kane Williamson (C), Jeet Raval, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling (wk), Neil Broom, Colin de Grandhomme, Matt Henry, James Neesham, Jeetan Patel, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner