Cricket: New Zealand batsmen give Proteas' catchers no rest

By David Leggat

The world's top-ranked bowler Steyn offered a sympathetic thought at the end of the third day. Photo / AP
The world's top-ranked bowler Steyn offered a sympathetic thought at the end of the third day. Photo / AP

New Zealand's batsmen must have seemed like sitting ducks to South Africa's pace bowlers during the two-test series.

Their inability to know precisely where their off stump was, and not being able to resist chasing wider deliveries, coupled with the high-class work of bowlers Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander and Rory Kleinveldt made this something of a perfect mix of elements for the catchers behind the wicket.

South African wicketkeeper AB de Villiers snared nine catches; captain Graeme Smith at first slip grabbed five, as did Alviro Petersen at third slip.

All 20 fell to the quick bowlers, bar captain Brendon McCullum edging left arm spinner Robin Peterson to slip in the first innings at Port Elizabeth.

The world's top-ranked bowler, Steyn offered a sympathetic thought at the end of the third day's play in Port Elizabeth after grabbing his 19th haul of five or more wickets in a test innings.

He was referring to New Zealand's batting approach after being asked to follow on, but he could have been talking in general about the collective performance over both tests.

"It's a difficult situation, when you're so many runs behind," Steyn said.

"How do you go about your batting? Do you attack, do you defend. It is difficult to decide which way to go.

"They haven't found out if they want to attack or defend certain balls. Then they do play an attacking shot and get out, then go back to defending and get out.

"It's a tough one. I can see where they're coming from and it is quite difficult."

Steyn, who topped the averages with 13 wickets at just 11.53 each, benefited five times from the edges of New Zealand bats; so, too, world No 2 Philander, and he played just the first test.

Morkel grabbed four wickets in that fashion, Jacques Kallis three, Kleinveldt two and Peterson one.

Edgy batsmen

Twenty of New Zealand's 40 dismissals in the two tests fell to catches in the wicketkeeper-slip cordon.
3: Dean Brownlie, BJ Watling and Doug Bracewell.
2: Martin Guptill, Daniel Flynn, Kane Williamson.
1: James Franklin, Brendon McCullum, Colin Munro, Trent Boult, Neil Wagner.

- NZ Herald

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