It was only a matter of time. It took almost three and a half days for the Kiwis to complete a victory over the inexperienced South Africans. Kyle Jamieson and Mitchell Santner shared seven wickets between them to secure a huge 281 run victory in the First test. The South African tried their best to make it a contest but the might of the hosts was too much.
The South African board made a controversial decision by choosing a much weaker side. None of the players who played in the second Test against India at Newlands were chosen for the New Zealand tour. Neil Brand was chosen as the stand-in skipper for South Africa for the tests against New Zealand. The 27 year old has played 52 first class games but has never appeared for the national team in any format. Duanne Olivier is the most experienced player in the team having played 15 previous Test matches. Keegan Petersen, David Bedingham and Zubayr Hamza are the other players who have some experience in international cricket.
There were six debutants in the first team of South Africa including the skipper. Batsmen Edward Moore and Raynard van Tonder were among the debutants. Pace bowler Tshepo Moreki and wicketkeeper batsman appeared in the Test team for the first time ever. All-rounder Ruan de Swardt completed the group of debutants. The regular faces on the Test circuit were busy in the domestic T20 league of South Africa. Dane Paterson would lead the South African bowling attack with Duanne Olivier bringing the experience to the fore.
New Zealand made two alterations to the team that played in the second Test match against Bangladesh back in December. After shining for the Kiwis in the 2023 World Cup, Rachin Ravindra made an inspirational comeback to the Test arena after some time. The 24 year old is yet to find his feet in the Test arena. He has scored 73 runs and claimed eight wickets in his short Test career of three Tests. Middle order batsman Henry Nicholls made way for the young all-rounder. Matt Henry came into the team to replace the left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel. After his meteoric rise to the international stage, Devon Conway has been struggling for form over the last 12 months. The 32 year old would look to score some runs at the top of the order against the country of his birth.
Trent Boult remains missing from the Test squad due to his commitment to the T20 franchise leagues. Tim Southee would lead the bowling line-up as well as the team. After a bright start to his Test career, Kyle Jamieson has been performing below par with the ball. Daryl Mitchell would be a player to watch after his heroic performances with the bat over the last two years.
1. Zak Crawley 2. Ben Duckett 3. Ollie Pope 4. Joe Root 5. Jonny Bairstow 6. Ben Stokes (Cap.) 7. Ben Foakes (WK) 8. Rehan Ahmed 9. Tom Hartley 10. Shoaib Bashie 11. James Anderson
1 Neil Brand (capt), 2 Edward Moore, 3 Raynard van Tonder, 4 Zubayr Hamza, 5 David Bedingham, 6 Keegan Peterson, 7 Ruan de Swardt, 8 Clyde Fortuin (wk), 9 Duanne Olivier, 10 Tshepo Moreki 11 Dane Paterson
South Africa’s debutant stand-in skipper Neil Brand won the coin toss and made a surprising decision to bat first on a solid wicket. The pitch at the Bay Oval is usually a high scoring ground with big totals scored at this ground on a regular basis. The average first innings total at this ground is 272. Teams batting first have won more matches than teams that bowled first. None of the four Test matches at this ground has ended in a draw. In the last two Tests, New Zealand have failed to win. England and Bangladesh have secured impressive wins in the two latest games. The boundaries at this ground are short and huge totals are a regular occurrence at this ground. The pace bowlers might get some assist off the surface with the new ball moving all around the pitch under overcast conditions. The spin bowlers usually find their life difficult with virtually no hint of moisture on the surface. There can be some assistance off the pitch if the pitch deteriorates on the fourth and fifth days.
New Zealand and South Africa have met on 47 occasions before this Test. There is a clear pattern in domination between the two sides. South Africa is clear of their Kiwi counterparts with 26 wins. New Zealand has managed only 5 wins from this fixture. 16 of matches have finished in draws.
In the tests on New Zealand soil, The home team has secured 2 wins. New Zealand has been a happy hunting ground for the Proteas who have secured nine victories in this Oceanian country. The last Test series between these two teams was played during the 2021-22 season. That two match series ended in a 1-1 draw. The Kiwis are looking for their first ever Test series win over the South Africans after a century.
|The first game of the two match series was played in the picturesque Bay Oval Cricket Ground in Mount Maunganui, Tauranga.
|The game started on Sunday, February 4, 2024, at 10:30. local time.
Captaincy and Tactics
New Zealand’s dominance in the Test match against South Africa was undeniable as they clinched victory by a staggering 281 runs. The momentum was set from the first innings, where Rachin Ravindra’s remarkable double century and Kane Williamson’s century laid a formidable foundation. On Day 4, with overcast conditions challenging the batters, South Africa’s openers fell early. However, Raynard van Tonder and Zubayr Hamza showed resilience until lunch.
The post-lunch session saw both batters departing, but David Bedingham and Keegan Petersen steadied the ship with a commendable partnership. Bedingham’s aggressive play added quick runs before his dismissal post-tea. Kyle Jamieson’s four-wicket haul and Mitchell Santner’s three-wicket spell further shattered South Africa’s hopes. Chasing an ambitious target of 529, South Africa never posed a threat as New Zealand’s bowlers dominated. Jamieson’s brilliance, coupled with Santner’s efficiency, sealed the emphatic victory for New Zealand.
Kyle Jamieson’s four-wicket haul backed up by Mitchell Santner’s three-for helped New Zealand record a mammoth 281-run win over South Africa in the first Test in Mount Maunganui – their second highest in terms of runs. The margin of defeat would have been much more if not for David Bedingham counter attacking 87 off 96 balls, where he took on the short ball with some aplomb.
Jamieson struck twice each after the lunch and tea breaks, breaking important stands as South Africa, who were chasing 529 for a win, folded for 247 in 80 overs. There were good partnerships built, but South Africa lost wickets in clusters way too often to go down. Aside from Bedingham, Zubayr Hamza, Raynard van Tonder and Keegan Petersen all got starts but none of them could go on and get a big one.
Earlier, New Zealand expectedly declared their second innings overnight on 179 for 4, setting South Africa an improbable target. Their bowlers Matt Henry and Tim Southee immediately found assistance under overcast skies to leave South Africa at 5 for 2 in the fourth over. While Southee troubled Edward Moore in the first over by curling the ball both ways, Henry seemingly had Neil Brand caught behind with his second delivery, as Tom Blundell took a stunning catch to his left. The South Africa captain, however, was saved on review.
Brand’s stay at the crease was short-lived though, as Southee breached his defence with an incoming beauty. He got the ball to jag in from the around-the-wicket angle, and Brand, unsure whether to play at the ball or leave it, was late and saw his stumps in a mess. At that point, with the ball hooping around and the batters unsure, a collapse was on the cards. But Hamza and van Tonder hung around.
Hamza, who had looked solid in the first innings, got the first four of the innings in the 11th over – a firm punch through covers off Jamieson – before cutting Southee square soon after. Van Tonder, on a pair on debut, got his first runs in Tests with a push past mid-on. He had his nervous moments though, as an edge fell short of second slip to along with a number of plays and misses, but he kept going. The pair soon brought up the first 50-run stand for South Africa in the Test, and moved to lunch unscathed.
But having fought hard, debutant van Tonder’s 83-ball vigil ended three overs after lunch when he edged a full-length Jamieson delivery straight into the hands of Tom Latham, who was stationed a tad wide at slips. Two overs later, it was Hamza’s turn to depart when his meek attempt at a pull could only go as far as Southee at mid-on.
Bedingham and Petersen joined forces in the 33rd over with the score at 73 for 4, and added 105 for the fifth wicket, with the former doing the bulk of the scoring. Bedingham started nervously, swishing and missing at a couple of balls and then twice edging Jamieson past the lone slip Latham, who was positioned wide. But Petersen, at the other end, looked more solid.
For 11 overs from the 35th to the 46th, South Africa could only manage 16 runs, with a single boundary. There were chances created, but none that really went to hand. Then came Matt Henry with a short-ball plan, and Bedingham decided to cut loose. Having decided to take his name out of the SA20 draft in a bid to play this series, Bedingham showed off his T20 ware in this Test – and in style. Henry went short at him four times in four balls, but was carted for a boundary each time by making room and stepping towards the leg side, in an over that went for 19.
Rachin Ravindra was then tonked for a four straight down the ground – one that got Bedingham to his second fifty in Tests, before he took a liking to Southee. The fast bowler went short, and Bedingham’s back-away-and-swing-for-the-hills plan was executed to perfection. In the last ten balls that he faced off Southee before tea, Bedingham carted him for 28. In all, South Africa scored 111 off 28 overs in the second session, with 71 coming off the last ten.
New Zealand went short at Bedingham for 22 balls, of which he whacked 48 runs, but the shot also brought about his downfall post tea. Not willing to change his approach, he went after Jamieson first over after the interval, but his miscued pull was caught at deep midwicket, with Bedingham falling 13 short of what would have been a maiden Test ton.
In his very next over, Jamieson had Peterson caught off a short ball down to deep-backward square leg, with Ravindra taking a good, low catch, and the end was nigh. Clyde Fortuin’s innings was cut short in an unfortunate manner when he pulled a Glenn Phillips long hop straight into the knee of Latham at short leg, with the ball popping up for wicketkeeper Blundell to complete the catch.
Duanne Olivier then edged Santner to first slip, before the left-arm spinner ended Dane Paterson’s enterprising innings on 15 to close out the game for the hosts and helped them take a 1-0 lead. rewrite this with human touch and adding more sentences
The fielding performances of the Kiwi fielders have been exceptional throughout this Test match. To dismiss Keegan Petersen, Rachin Ravindra dived to his right while he was standing at square leg. Daryl Mitchell took a sharp catch at slip to dismiss Duanne Olivier.
Mitchell Santner completed a fine catch to dismiss David Bedingham who had been a constant problem for the hosts upto that point. Tom Latham took a good catch with the gloves to dismiss Raynard van Tonder. The Kiwis have been exceptional throughout the entirety of the Test match and day four was no exception.
David Bedingham was the best batter for the South Africans in the second innings. The 29 year old played a gutsy innings of 87 from 96 balls to keep his team in the contest. The right hander was handling the short ball admirably before getting dismissed by Kyle Jamieson.
Jamieson was the pick of the host bowlers with four wickets. The towering bowler bowled 17 runs and gave away 58 runs. Zubyr Hamza was patient in his innings of 36 from 92 deliveries. Ruan de Swardt remained unbeaten in his innings of 34 with four boundaries. Dan Paterson entertained the crowd with an innings of 15 runs that contained three boundaries.
Mitch Santner was the best bowler for the Kiwis in the first innings. The left-arm spinner claimed three wickets in the second to make sure the Kiwis would get an easy win. Tim Southee, Matt Henry and Glenn Phillps ended the innings with one wicket apiece.
The turning point of the sexond day came after Rachin Ravindra came out to bat with Kane Williamson. The pair scored a partnership of unbeaten 219 runs with shots played all around the ground. New Zealand dominated the first innings, amassing 511 runs over 144 overs and 5 sessions. Kane Williamson’s solid 118 and Rachin Ravindra’s exceptional 240 laid the foundation for the Kiwis’ substantial lead against South Africa. Despite Neil Brand’s remarkable 6-wicket haul as the Proteas’ debut skipper, quickfire contributions from Glenn Phillips, Daryl Mitchell, and Matt Henry helped New Zealand breach the 500-run mark.
In response, South Africa struggled against the strong Kiwi bowling attack, failing to build significant partnerships despite starts from Edward Moore, Zubayr Hamza, and David Bedingham. Keegan Petersen top-scored with 45 runs, but South Africa collapsed for 162, trailing by 349 runs. The sorry-looking batting scorecard reflected their inability to counter New Zealand’s bowling onslaught, leaving them facing an uphill battle.
New Zealand recorded their second biggest victory against South Africa by a huge margin of 281 runs.
Man of the Match
For his outstanding knock of 240 runs in the first innings, Rachin Ravindra was adjudged as the player of the match. The 24 year old also claimed two scalps in the first innings with the ball.
|New Zealand First Innings: 511/10
|South Africa First Innings: 162/10 (72.5 overs)
|New Zealand Second Innings: 179/4 (declared)
|South Africa Second Innings: 247/10 (80 overs)
|Rachin Ravindra 240 (366)
|Keegan Petersen 45 (132)
|Kane Willamson 109 (132)
|David Bedingham 87 (96)
|Kane Willamson 118 (289)
|David Bedingham 32 (58)
|Devon Conway 29 (58)
|Zubyr Hamza 36 (92)
|Neil Brand 6/119 (26 overs)
|Matt Henry 3/31 (14 overs)
|Neil Brand 2/52 (13 overs)
|Kyle Jamieson 4/58 (17 overs)
|Ryan de Swardt 2/61 (29 overs)
|Mitch Satner 3/34 (21 overs)
|Dan Paterson 1/38 (10 overs)
|Mitch Santner 3/59 (26 overs)
It was a predictable result in the end with the South Africans comprehensively beaten by a strong Kiwi side. Two centuries in two innings from the legendary Kane Willamson and a maiden double ton by Rachin Ravindra was enough to post a huge total. Then Kyle Jamieson bowled magnificently to secure an impressive win for the hosts. The South Africans have played well in spells but their inexperience showed throughout the match. The teams would meet again for the second and final Test at Seddon Park on February 11.