Cricket: NZ need to fight on to compete in test

By Daniel Richardson

Jacques Rudolph of South Africa bats during day three of the Third Test match between New Zealand and South Africa at Basin Reserve. Photo / Getty Images.
Jacques Rudolph of South Africa bats during day three of the Third Test match between New Zealand and South Africa at Basin Reserve. Photo / Getty Images.

New Zealand have two long days at the crease ahead of them in the third and final cricket test against South Africa at the Basin Reserve in Wellington.

South Africa, who resumed day three on 246-2 this morning, declared their first innings at 474-9 after they took advantage of a solid batting track during the day.

Poor weather plagued the first two days of the encounter with ground delays and bad light wreaking havoc in the contest but that wasn't the case today on a sunny Sunday in the capital.

The Black Caps closed the day's play on 65-0 in their first innings with Daniel Flynn at the crease on 35 alongside Martin Guptill on 28, but they have plenty more work ahead of them.

Flynn, who was recalled to the side for his first test match since December of 2009, looked assured at the crease and dealt comfortably with some pointy short-pitched bowling from the South African seam attack.

He was a player clearly in form and his return to the national side came on the back of three hundreds in consecutive Plunket Shield matches for Northern Districts.

Guptill, who has suffered a mixed test series with scores of 16, 6, 22 and 1, would've been pleased to finish the day with a not out next to his name.

New Zealand are down 1-0 and need to force a result in this test to tie the series and they were given a chance by paceman Mark Gillespie.

The Wellingtonian ended South Africa's innings with career-best figures of 6-113, which was due reward as he looked the most threatening of the New Zealand bowlers.

The right-armer plugged away for 33.4 overs and would've been a good bet to claim a seven-for had South Africa not declared their innings when they did.

Test specialist Daniel Vettori looked liked he was only holding up an end as he got through 42-wicketless overs and although the pitch isn't a huge turner he rarely threatened the South African batsmen with his left-arm orthodox deliveries.

The tone was set for South Africa by Alviro Petersen and JP Duminy who appeared to have no problem with the usually unlucky No 13.

Both batsmen, who are in the middle of their 13th test, managed to craft differing centuries.

Petersen, who struggled in the first two tests of the series with scores of 11, 25, 29 and 1, ground his way to his highest test score of 156.

The right-handed opener brought up his third test hundred in 229 balls and had to endure a stop-start opening two days of the test.

Petersen, 31, was eventually undone after lunch when he was trapped in front from the bowling of Martin.

The free-flowing Duminy on the other hand notched only his second test ton after his first came in his second test match against Australia in December of 2008.

There is no doubt about the left-hander's class, but inconsistency in the white clothing has seen him drop in and out of the South African five-day line-up during the past three years.

The 27-year-old, who averages around 50 in first-class cricket, didn't even play a test in 2011 and was only a late replacement for this game after Jacques Kallis woke up on the morning of day one with a stiff neck.

He turned out to be a useful late addition.

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- APNZ

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