After suffering their first defeat in a Test on home soil this Summer in the second match of their series against the visiting South African Proteas, the New Zealand Black Caps will attempt to bounce back and square and share the series in the third and final fixture between the two sides, which starts at Seddon Park in Hamilton on Saturday.
Despite the defeat inside three days at the Basin reserve, the New Zealand selectors have opted to stay with the same squad of players for Saturday’s third Test. Ross Taylor continues to be unavailable due to the calf tear that he suffered in the first Test.
What will make things even tougher for New Zealand is that they will go into the game without either Tim Southee or Trent Boult, both of whom have been ruled out of the encounter because of injuries.
Even more surprising is the omission of the leg-spinner Ish Sodhi, given that the pitch is expected to be a low slow surface.
The Black Caps have chopped and changed their bowling attack and lower order for the previous two Tests, as they have attempted to give their batting order some additional depth.
However, in both cases their strategy has failed. They have not been helped by all-rounders Jimmy Neesham managing just 26 runs in three innings, and Colin de Grandhomme 4 and 0 in Wellington.
The tourists have released fast bowler Duanne Olivier from their Test squad ahead of Saturday’s match, leaving them with only Wayne Parnell as back up to their trio of quick bowlers; Rabada, Philander and Morkel.
Chris Morris was previously released midway through the previous Test in Wellington. Olivier, who made his Test debut against Sri Lanka in Johannesburg in January, impressing with a return of 5-57 in the match, will have to wait for the tour to England later in the year before he can hope to add to his solitary cap. However, the Proteas have strengthened their slow bowling by adding the off-spinner Dane Piedt to their squad.
South Africa start heavy favourites to get the better of New Zealand in this game but it also needs to be seen how the hosts will bounce back from a situation where their backs are to the wall.