The first test draw between New Zealand and South Africa drew scrutiny on how the host XI should adjust for the second match starting Thursday at the Basin Reserve.

Rain saw the opening contest abandoned on the final day in Dunedin, a frustrating conclusion after both sides took their share of the advantage.

South Africa's second innings was poised at 224-6, a lead of 191 runs. Proteas opener Dean Elgar was man-of-the-match after scoring 140 and 89.

Ross Taylor's right calf injury ruled him out of the Wellington test, but he could play the next game in Hamilton. His replacement Neil Broom is set to make his debut.

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Elsewhere, soreness around Trent Boult's pelvis and left hip prevented him bowling with the second new ball on Saturday. He will travel to Wellington where his fitness will be monitored. Tim Southee is expected to return regardless, on a more seamer-friendly Basin Reserve pitch. If Boult does not pass muster, Matt Henry is next in line.

The toughest decision for coach Mike Hesson and captain Kane Williamson is which spinner to omit, presuming they play one rather than two on a surface usually suited to pace in the early stanzas.

Mitchell Santner has been the incumbent because of his all-round talents, but Jeetan Patel is challenging through his guile, and ability to take the ball away from the South African top seven's three left-handers.

The 36-year-old took two for 72 from 36 overs in the tourists' second innings. He earned a fourth consecutive international dismissal of Quinton de Kock, and Elgar miscued a lofted drive which found Williamson at deep mid-off.

Patel was brought back for the one-off test series in India, having devoted his career to English county Warwickshire for a few seasons. He has since played Bangladesh, Australia and South Africa, and looks an increasingly integral part of the New Zealand side heading to June's Champions Trophy.

"Taking the ball away from the left-handers is a nice option to have," Black Caps captain Kane Williamson said. "And drifting the ball against right-handed batsmen is threatening as well.

"The main consideration is looking at our strengths and matching them to the surface and how we can target some players in the opposition. It's a good problem to have."

South African captain Faf du Plessis said Patel was tougher to play in the circumstances.

"Spinning the ball away [Santner's left arm orthodox stock ball to the right-hander] is normally more of a threat, but in this match there was a lot of rough created by the left-armers and he [Patel] was consistently there. That made it harder to play than off the straight."

Patel has not played any of his 22 tests at his home venue.

"I'd love to play a test at the Basin. I have played a lot there so I tend to know what's going on. We have to decide what it looks like, what our better weapons will be, and how we can attack. Maybe I get picked to get Quinton out.

"I know I am not going to be in this team forever, so I am enjoying every moment. They are going somewhere with their cricket and I want to help them get there. To come back in and play test cricket again in New Zealand is special."

Seeing Patel bowl encouraged du Plessis to push for a second spinner to be flown out to join Keshav Maharaj, who took five for 94 in New Zealand's only innings.

"We've been surprised. Conditions have changed since we were last here [in 2011-12 for tests]."

Broom was selected ahead of a field of candidates which included Dean Brownlie, Colin Munro and Tom Bruce. He has scored 424 runs at an average of 53 in this season's Plunket Shield.

The 33-year-old received a call-up in December for the ODI squad to play Bangladesh after a six-year hiatus. He left the second year of his English county contract with Derbyshire to pursue his international dream.

Brownlie was not considered due to injury. He was on stand-by for Taylor's eye issues during the Pakistan series, despite having rebranded himself as an opener. The 32-year-old missed Northern Districts match against Central Districts at Seddon Park after a clash in the outfield during the ODIs against South Africa. He has scored 321 runs at an average of 40.12 this first-class season.

Auckland's Munro has 475 Plunket Shield runs at an average of 95, including three centuries; Central Districts' Bruce has 473 runs at 59.12, including two centuries.

"We have quite an inexperienced batting line-up so wanted someone with plenty of playing experience, somebody who plays pace well, and someone who had the advantage of seeing South Africa earlier in the month," Hesson said.