Cricket-Black Caps focused on process ahead of second South Africa test

Cricket-Black Caps focused on process ahead of second South Africa test

(Reuters) – New Zealand could hardly not be confident of sealing their first series triumph over South Africa in 72 years of trying when they take to the field at Hamilton’s Seddon Park for the second test on Tuesday.

The Black Caps romped to a 281-run victory in the first test at Mount Maunganui last week and all the factors that contributed to that comprehensive win remain in play this week.

Foremost amongst those is the yawning gap in experience between the two sides after South Africa Cricket decided to send a weakened team and prioritise their financially lucrative Twenty20 competition.

New Zealand captain Tim Southee has resolutely refused to engage on the subject of his team potentially making a little bit of history this week and said the prospect had not been discussed in camp.

“We obviously had a great week last week. And like every test match our focus has been on our preparation over the last couple of days,” he told reporters on Monday.

“It doesn’t change who you play or what test match.”

There will be changes to the home side, however, as Daryl Mitchell will miss the match and the Twenty20 series against Australia that follows with a foot injury.

Will Young will come into the middle of the batting order to replace him, while rangy paceman Will O’Rourke was included in the squad for this test only and could make his test debut.

“His strengths are obviously his height and his ability to extract bounce,” Southee, who will name his team at the toss, said of the 22-year-old.

“He’s got the tools to be a very, very good bowler and someone I’m sure will thrive at this level and have a long career at this level.”

South Africa captain Neil Brand, who made his test debut with several of his team mates last week, said there would also be changes to his side, most likely in the bowling department.

Brand thought the Proteas were not “miles off” in the first test and were determined not to be the first South Africa team to lose a series to New Zealand.

“We definitely want to come away with something,” he said.

“So we are desperate to put in a good performances and we can hopefully we can get ourselves into the game.”

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney, editing by Peter Rutherford)

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