The New Zealand Black Caps face the touring South African Proteas in the second of their three match Test series at the Basin Reserve in Wellington, starting on Wednesday, with the series level at 0-0, after the rain on the final day ruined any chance of a positive outcome in the first encounter.
The first Test had been delicately poised at the end of day four, with the Proteas leading by 191 runs, and four wickets remaining, and any of the three results possible.
Although the first game was not the highest scoring affair, the man of the match was South African Dean Elgar, with scores of 140 and 89, while the home side’s Kane Williamson also posted a century.
Only one bowler managed to snare five victims in an innings, the tourists’ Keshav Maharaj.
The Kiwis will go into the Wellington clash without leading batsman Ross Taylor, who picked up a calf strain in the first Test, which caused him to retire hurt, and which is still troubling him.
They also have a doubt over Trent Boult, who took 4-64 in South Africa’s first innings. In contrast the tourists look set to be able to select their starting XI from a full squad, as their main worry, Morne Morkel has shown no adverse reaction following his return to action.
The Black Caps are still looking for a first Test win against the Proteas since they were victorious in Auckland back in 2004. Since when the two sides have played each other on 14 occasions, with South Africa winning nine times, and the other five games ending in draws.
The last dozen Tests at the Basin have seen five draws, including the fixture against South Africa in 2012, while the home team have won three and lost times in that period.