Three things we've learnt about the Black Caps

By David Leggat

Trent Boult of the Black Caps gets the wicket of AB de Villiers. Photosport
Trent Boult of the Black Caps gets the wicket of AB de Villiers. Photosport

Three things we've learnt about New Zealand in the first two matches of the ODI series against South Africa:

1: Fighting spirit

In both games New Zealand have had to scrap hard to stay in the contest. At Hamilton they were on the way out as South Africa reached 117 for one chasing New Zealand's 207 and were in control. New Zealand then ripped out four for nine and got it down to two runs needed off two balls before AB de Villiers hit the winning boundary. At Christchurch yesterday, South Africa were taking charge at 192 for four in the 37th over, with de Villiers and David Miller in charge. Then four wickets were taken for 22 in five overs. Then Dwaine Pretorius turned the blowtorch on New Zealand's nerves late on, but they held. The result: a series-levelling six-run win.

2: Two top drawer seamers

They miss the odd mark but chalk down Trent Boult and Tim Southee as top class seamers.

Their last overs at Hagley Oval yesterday, loaded with yorkers, were just the ticket for New Zealand. Southee's mid-innings work at Hamilton, where his slower ball prowess got a good airing, and Boult's dismissals of AB de Villiers and Dwayne Pretorius at Hagley Oval were examples of bowling smarts of the highest order.

3: Taylor is key

He missed out in the first game at Hamilton but his record-setting 17th ODI century yesterday was a classy performance and without it, New Zealand would without question be 0-2 down in the series today. Don't be distracted by all the T20 hullaballoo around Taylor's non-selection this season. ODI batting is different and Taylor's ability to pace his innings is top drawer. He's in top form and remember he's yet to make a test century against South Africa. He's got three chances coming up. One more test ton will put him level on the record of 17 with his mentor Martin Crowe. There's a certain symmetry there.

- NZ Herald

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