13 Feb 2024

History beckons for Black Caps in Hamilton

6:43 am on 13 February 2024
Tim Southee celebrates a wicket.

Photo: © Copyright Andrew Cornaga 2022 / www.photosport.nz / Photosport Ltd

In a match up that dates back to 1931, the Black Caps are in a prime position to finally win a test series against South Africa, which is being contested for the inaugural Tangiwai Shield.

New Zealand have met the Proteas in 17 previous series, managing four draws and 13 losses.

Anything other than victory against a weakened Proteas outfit would be a bitter disappointment, particularly with Australia on the horizon.

Skipper Tim Southee said the South African's should provide a sterner challenge in the second test, with many having made their debut in Tauranga.

"When you have a hitout against them, you know a little bit more, but also they have played against us now so they'll be better for having had more of a close up look of what we offer as well."

With a dominant 281-run win in Mount Maunganui and a chance to break the historic hoodoo, Southee said they will not alter their approach.

"We obviously had a great week last week. We had a few days off between the tests and the guys were able to get away for a little bit and then we got together as a test group and the focus shifts to this week. Our preparation doesn't change no matter who you play or what test match it is."

Black Caps Will Young

Will Young is set to return to the test side. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The match marks the first test at Seddon Park since 2020 but Southee said they have seen enough from the shorter form to know it's a decent deck.

"There hasn't been a test here for a number of years but a lot of white ball cricket, which has offered up a pretty good surface. This year it's had a bit of pace and bounce in it but it also tends to be a little bit more humid here in Hamilton so there is a little bit of swing.

"That's the beauty of test cricket, the pitch changes over the five days so you pick a side that's going to be most effective over those five days."

The Black Caps are also looking to blood some new talent with seamer Will O'Rourke set to make his test debut.

Southee said though they have yet to settle on final bowling attack, the 22-year old is a likely inclusion.

"He's got a great head on his shoulders. He's a he's a pretty mature guy and he's had a little taste of international cricket already so he sort of knows what what to expect."

Will Young will also replace the injured Daryl Mitchell in the middle order.

Southee said another win would give the side great momentum ahead of the Australian series at the end of the month.

"Test wins aren't easy and it was great to sit back in the in the changing room and and have a beer and reflect on the four days that we played. And those are some of the best best memories where from your career.

"It's not something that we've done a lot against South Africa obviously a proud sporting nation and to be able to get one over them was very pleasing."

The veteran seamer said the side is relishing playing more test cricket on their own turf.

"For us it's not something we have a lot of especially here at home, so to have two series reasonably close together and two great oppositions in South Africa and Australia is pretty awesome."

South Africa captain Neil Brand batting during the first test against New Zealand.

South Africa captain Neil Brand batting during the first test against New Zealand. Photo: Andrew Cornaga/www.photosport.nz

For South Africa, the side is desperate to leave Aotearoa with a win.

Skipper Neil Brand said the Proteas played well for 65 per cent of the first test, but crucial moments, such as dropping centurions Kane Williamson and Rachin Ravindra, cost them.

"I don't think we are miles away. We just have to do the right things for longer especially with the bat, one thing in particular is losing two wickets at a time which isn't ideal in test cricket and just keep things simple."

Brand said the Hamilton track should suit his bowlers.

"Especially our seam bowlers, hopefully we can put it to good use."

The Tangiwai Shield, series trophy for the New Zealand -South Africa tests.

The Tangiwai Shield Photo: Alan Lee / www.photosport.nz