Recent Match Report – New Zealand vs South Africa 2nd Test 2023/24


New Zealand 211 and 40 for 1 (Latham 21*, Piedt 1-3) trail South Africa 242 and 235 (Bedingham 110, Petersen 43, O’Rourke 5-34, Philips 2-50) by 227 runs

William O’Rourke‘s five-wicket haul on debut helped New Zealand come roaring back into the contest after David Bedingham‘s classy hundred, on day three of the second Test in Hamilton. From 202 for 4, South Africa lost the last six wickets for just 33 runs in the final session. The visitors, who resumed the day with a first-innings lead of 31, set New Zealand a target of 267.

At stumps, New Zealand were 40 for 1, losing Devon Conway off what turned out to be the last delivery of the day to left-arm spinner Dane Piedt. With New Zealand needing a further 227 runs and South Africa nine wickets to win, the contest is evenly poised heading into day four.

If New Zealand do chase this down, it will become the highest successful chase at Seddon Park, eclipsing the 210-run target mowed down by Australia in 2000.
New Zealand began the day positively by striking early, with two wickets to O’Rourke in his morning spell and one to Rachin Ravindra. South Africa captain Neil Brand hung around for a bit before falling for a 60-ball 34. From 39 for 3, Bedingham and Zubayr Hamza gave the hosts much-needed momentum. Bedingham, in particular, targeted Ravindra’s poor deliveries as South Africa accumulated 30 runs off his three overs before lunch. The duo, who started aggressively in the morning, switched gears to play cautiously post-lunch when Matt Henry and O’Rourke’s balls were nipping around a lot.

Surprisingly, it took Tim Southee 36 overs to hand the ball to Neil Wagner, who was playing his first Test in almost a year. The experienced left-arm seamer took just five balls to end the 65-run partnership as an impatient Hamza holed out to deep square leg off a short delivery to end. However since Hamza’s dismissal, South Africa seemed untroubled, with Bedingham and Keegan Petersen stitching a healthy partnership.

Though Bedingham had played only three Tests prior to this game, the clarity in his thinking and approach – having gained from the experience of playing plenty of first-class cricket – stood out on Thursday. He played aggressively when necessary and struck at a good pace. In his 141-ball stay, he scored 12 fours and two sixes, playing almost a faultless innings.

Petersen, on the other hand, was good against spin and pace and ticked along nicely in the middle session. The duo put on 98 runs together for the fifth wicket, putting South Africa in a strong position at tea. Wagner’s short-ball ploy did not work for New Zealand as it became too predictable.

Just when it looked like South Africa were moving towards a winning position, Henry triggered the collapse, thanks to Glenn Phillips’ stunning catch at gully. A few overs later, Phillips, with his offspin, cleaned up Ruan de Swardt when he exposed his stumps attempting a sweep. But it was O’Rourke who delivered the key wicket once again when he dismissed Bedingham for 110. The batter cut away a back of a length delivery outside off, only to find Phillips at gully. The extra bounce on the surface and O’Rourke’s pace and accuracy meant New Zealand wiped out South Africa one hour into the final session.

By finishing with an overall match haul of 9 for 93, O’Rourke registered the best bowling figures on Test debut for a New Zealand bowler.

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