The Proteas need a huge improvement on day two of the first Test against New Zealand at Hagley Oval in Christchurch after a dismal first day saw them trailing 21 runs with the hosts still holding seven wickets in hand in their second innings.
The visitors were put to bat on a green field perfect for bowling and were absolutely dismantled by pace bowler Matt Henry who brought back the best career numbers of 7/23 to help them all bowl for 95 at tea.
The hosts then answered 116/3 in the final session of the day to take full control of the game, but the Proteas could have gotten a lot closer after dropping four flyouts during the Black Caps innings.
In the post-play presser, Proteas paceman Duanne Olivier was asked if he thought it was a 95 point pitch, but he chose to focus on the positives with plenty of cricket left to play.
“To be honest it wasn’t real (a 95 point field). As a team collective it was not our best day at the office, but tomorrow is another day, we are still in the game and there is still so much cricket to play,” said Olivier.
“So I think we will come back tomorrow, we know what we did wrong and we know where we can improve.
“At the end of the day there were still some positives and if we can leverage those and stick to our strengths and the way we play, I think we can put ourselves in a good position.”
Bad field work has unfortunately become somewhat of a habit for the Proteas lately, which is bitterly disappointing after they were once known as the best field team in the world for years.
The first culprit in New Zealand’s innings was Marco Jansen who dropped a simple chance on gully, giving debutant Glenton Stuurman his first Test wicket.
Zubayr Hamza then dropped a tricky chance on the third slip, he went with one hand but should still have held on, while Temba Bavuma, one of the best outfielders on the side, dropped a low chance which he took with both hands. got on the back point.
Another safe pair of hands, Rassie van der Dussen, then dropped a chance at silly-mid on, failing to get his hands close to the ball after it was deflected towards him, all these opportunities showing the team deflated during the match. agreement.
“Unfortunately it’s not fun to put down four catches and it’s a huge request to get back from that,” admitted Olivier.
“As a bowler you always feel frustrated, but at the end of the day we’re a team and guys don’t do it on purpose. It’s important how we come back tomorrow, the South African way is about showing character and fighting back.”
Olivier still believed the SA team had a chance if they could get day two off to a good start.
“We are a little behind the eight ball, we only scored 95 batting first, but we can still throw them out for 180,” said Olivier.
“Cricket is a fun game, today might be theirs, but tomorrow might be our day, so I think it’s just sticking to what we’ve done well against India lately and sticking to our DNA and game plan.”
For Black Caps speedy Henry, who is not a regular starter for the team, he was excited about how the day went and admitted that winning the toss was a key moment in how it all unfolded.
“When you win a toss like that, you want to go out and do the work, but we knew we had to put the ball in the right areas, so it fell off for us,” said Henry.
“I found out yesterday that I was playing, but I play a lot of cricket in my own country and have been involved with the team for a while.
“So it was great to get the wink and of course to play Hagley here at my home ground, I was really excited to have my friends and family here too.”