NZ v SA, 3rd Test Preview: South Africa aim series victory, Kiwis affected by injuries

South Africa
South African players celebrate New Zealand’s Tim Southee. (Photo by MARTY MELVILLE/AFP/Getty Images)

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With the 3rd Test of the series about to begin in a few hours time, hosts New Zealand will look to turn their fortunes around against the might Proteas and square the 3 match series in Hamilton. While South Africa has been exceptional in the series so far, hosts New Zealand hasn’t been far behind and has matched up to their abilities in most of the departments but have failed to seize their opportunities at crucial junctures of the game.

South Africa, on the other hand, has played some exceptional brand of cricket in the season winning 7 out of the 11 matches losing just a solitary encounter. They started off with a series victory against the same opponents in their own den, defeated the Aussies also in their backyard and steamrolled Sri Lanka at home. They had started off the season ranked 7th in the ICC Test rankings and has climbed their way to the No.3 position.

Team Combination 

New Zealand

It’s been 13 long years that the Kiwis haven’t beaten the Proteas in a Test match. Their last victory against South Africa came way back in 2004 at Auckland. They will surely hope to break the unwanted record and register a win to level the series 1-1. New Zealand has played brilliantly in patches but when it mattered the most, the visitors have seized the opportunities more than the home team.

With 3 main players being ruled out for the final Test, the hosts will be in a dilemma over their team combination. Their frontline fast bowlers Tim Southee and Trent Boult has been ruled out so it will be a big blow for them going into the deciding encounter. Exclusion of Ross Taylor will also put them under immense pressure given the inexperienced middle order. Scott Kuggeleijn who impressed in the Plunkett Shield might be given his maiden break.

Given the Seddon Park wicket, it is highly unlikely New Zealand will go with four quicks. Jeetan Patel and Mitchell Santner will be the two spinners in the team while Matt Henry is expected to make a comeback in place of Boult.

Predicted XI: Tom Latham, Jeet Raval, Kane Williamson (capt), Neil Broom, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling (wk), Scott Kuggeleijn, Mitchell Santner, Jeetan Patel, Matt Henry, Neil Wagner

Recent form: L W D W W

South Africa

The visitor who has had a brilliant last few months in the longest format of the game will look to continue their winning streak and outplay the hosts in each and every department of the game. While Stephen Cook isn’t the only South African top order batsmen out of form, his place in the side will be under scrutiny if his lacklustre performance continues in the final test. He has to start showing more consistency in the top of the order.

Despite damaging his right index fielder, wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock is expected to play which means the reserve wicket-keeper Heinrich Klassen will be forced to sit out yet again. Wayne Parnell will be the other pacer expected to miss out. Off-spinner Dane Piedt was flown in from South Africa especially for the final Test but they will find it pretty difficult to field him given the team combination.

Predicted XI: Stephen Cook, Dean Elgar, Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis (capt), JP Duminy, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock (wk), Vernon Philander, Keshav Maharaj, Morne Morkel,  Kagiso Rabada

Recent form: W D W W W

Stat Attack

1- Morne Morkel need 1 more wicket to complete 250 Test wickets

0- New Zealand yet to win a Test series vs South Africa.

117- Hashim Amla need 117 runs to complete 8000 runs in Test cricket