All hail Proteas centurions
It must be very difficult being a New Zealand bowler.
No matter how hard you toss the kookaburra down the 21m of earth of varying textures and qualities, the batsmen will not reward the hard work.
South Africa’s total may look imposing and in the end too much for a technically deficient and impotent New Zealand batting order, but if it weren’t for incisive and parsimonious bowling in the first session, it would have been much larger.
Whether they will get another crack at the Proteas will be relative if the batsmen are not able to muster the 325 runs required to make South Africa bat again.
What they may not escape from is the short ball barrage they subjected Dale Steyn to.
Cricket is very much karma’s brother and its devil’s advocate.
What the flaccid New Zealand batting showed was South Africa’s awesome strength in batting depth.
It may not be as deep as Australia’s, which made Michael Hussey pile 15 000 first-class runs before get that baggy green cap and gifted Stuart Law a solitary one, but it ensured Trent Boult, Neil Wagner and Doug Bracewell could not sustain the pressure they built up in the morning session.
It was the kind of pressure Wagner talked about and it may have produced a Hashim Amla’s wicket with the rest being sacrificed in the chase, the Proteas applied it to maximum effect with an implosion of the kind only Bangladesh are capable off.
They were at least capable of getting past the ignominious 45 from the Newlands Test.
It seemed like the teams batted on different track. While there was swing throughout the day because of the heavy cloud cover, South Africa’s three centurions Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis and Dean Elgar, who scored markedly different centuries, negated with minimum of ease.
When Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Rory Kleinveldt bowled, the track seemed to morph into a seaming terror the Wanderers was known for in the height of the 1980’s.
Martin Guptill’s outside off-stump woes continued, further giving credence to his ODI-bully/weak Test batsman credentials.
Kane Williamson flashed at one he had no business playing.
Dean Brownlie received a snorter that would have got any batsman out on any day with Daniel Flynn trapped playing across his stumps.
The most unforgivable dismissal was that of Brendon McCullum, whose wild drive at a Robin Peterson delivery that turned away from him smacking of avarice and an inability to shoulder responsibility.
Colin Munro’s flick around the corner found Elgar’s safe hand in an attempt to release the building kilopascals and was part of Robin Peterson two wickets in two balls.
Only BJ Watling showed any semblance of how to deal with the South African bowlers.
It would be fair to suggest New Zealand will not last day three if yesterday’s conditions prevail.
A sunny day is predicted today but Port Elizabeth’s weather cannot be trusted – also is the New Zealand’s batting line-up.
- Khanyiso Tshwaku at St George’s Park