South Africa v New Zealand – 1st Test at Kingsmead at 09:00 live on Sky Sports 2
A two Test match series gets underway in Durban on Friday between South Africa and New Zealand. The visitors arrive fresh from a two-nil series win against minnows Zimbabwe, whilst South Africa play a Test for the first time since January, where they were beaten two-one by England.
[expand title=”Read More…” swaptitle=”Hide” trigpos=”below” rel=”star-highlander” ]
The hosts also previously lost three-nil in India and failed to beat Bangladesh away in a rain affected series – life post Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis has been tough for South Africa and will have to do without AB de Villiers and Morne Morkel in this two match series – both have injuries and are ruled out. The home side have a poor recent record at Kingsmead, losing five of the last six Tests.
This is winter in Durban, but having a tropical climate means temperatures will still be in the mid twenties and sunshine should feature throughout.
Here’s a list of sides 1st innings scores at Durban in the last five Tests along with the winner/result of each Test in bold text –
2015 – 1st inns – 303 (ENG), 2nd inns – 214 (SA) – ENG
2013 – 1st inns – 334 (IND), 2nd inns – 500 (SA) – SA
2011 – 1st inns – 338 (SL), 2nd inns – 168 (SA) – SL
2010 – 1st inns – 205 (IND), 2nd inns – 131 (SA) – IND
2009– 1st inns – 343 (SA), 2nd inns – 574/9d (ENG) – ENG
Batting in the 1st innings of the match in this period – Average 304
Batting in the 2nd innings of the match in this period – Average 317
NOTE – (we’ve ignored 3rd and 4th match innings for the purposes of this column which has been written for each sides 1st innings of the Test)
Form Guide & First Inns Runs
Here are South Africa‘s last eight 1st innings scores in Tests, plus result in brackets –
475 (W) 313 (L) 627/7d (D) 214 (L) 121 (L) 79 (L) 214 (D) 184 (L) DNB (D) 248(D) – Average 353
Here are New Zealand‘s last nine 1st innings scores in Tests, plus result in brackets –
582/4d (W) 576/6d (W) 370 (L) 183 (L) 237 (W) 431 (W) 202 (L) 624 (D) 317 (L) – Average 391
Faf du Plessis leads South Africa in AB’s absence but comes into this series needing some runs having managed just 127 in five knocks against England. Cook (below) will open the batting with Dean Elgar – the nuggety left hander averages a lowly 36 in 25 Tests but did score his 4th Test ton in the England series. Hashim Amla is the star turn with the bat but averages just 18 on his home ground in 16 innings, way down on a career average that exceeds 50. Temba Bavuma looked full of promise in his first full Test series, scoring 248 runs in seven knocks against Alastair Cook’s side. Quinton de Kock came back into the XI mid-series and returned with a memorable hundred at Centurion whilst all rounders Chris Morris and Wayne Parnell are likely to battle it out for the number eight spot. Kagiso Rabada returns from a successful county stint with Kent whilst fit again experienced quick-men Vernon Philander and Dale Steyn should make up a powerful seam attack.
Two huge victories in Zimbabwe for Williamson’s (below) New Zealand outfit means that the top order arrive in Durban in terrific form. Martin Guptill (40, 87, 11), Tom Latham (105, 136, 13), Williamson (91, 113, 68*) and BJ Watling (107, 83*) all well and truly booked in for bed and breakfast in the Bulawayo double-header. Ross Taylor went some better though, scoring 364 runs in 3 innings without being dismissed! Henry Nicholls and Mitchell Santner have both looked the part in their short Test careers but have both yet to register a half-century in a combined 11 innings. Left arm quicks Trent Boult and Neil Wagner are two of the best in the business, the later took 11 wickets in the Zimbabwe routing. Tim Southee should enjoy the swing that often occurs at Kingsmead whilst leg spinner Ish Sodhi could get the nod ahead of seamers Dougie Bracewell, Matt Henry and off spinner Mark Craig.
Ones To Watch
33 year-old opener Stephen Cook had a fine debut during South Africa‘s dead rubber 4th Test win against England. Cook made a century in the first innings followed by 25 in the second to show he could be the man to open alongside Dean Elgar over the coming years.
Black Caps skipper Kane Williamson became the youngest cricketer in the history of the game to score Test hundreds against each nation earlier this month during his sides romp to victory in Zimbabwe. Averaging 51 in 50 Tests confirms a special talent – he will be expected to lead from the front post McCullum retirement.
Whoever bats first, I recommend backing any UNDER RUNS around the 345-350 mark.
Top First Innings Batsman Market
Prices correct at time of writing.