South Africa are set to begin their second and final Test match against New Zealand on Tuesday, 13 February. The young South African brigade who played under the leadership of debutant Neil Brand were hammered in the last Test match. Twin centuries from Kane Williamson and one double hundred from Rachin Ravindra resulted in the hosts registering a massive 281-run win.
After the conclusion of the first Test match South Africa coach Shukri Conrad was critical of his players and said that the young side were made aware of the harsh realities of Test cricket.
“A few of them would have taken a knock in terms of the harsh realities that Test cricket brings, and possibly how far away they still are. Many feel that they’re closer to the Test side than they currently are,” Conrad told the reporters after the first Test match.
NZ vs SA: Conrad makes harsh comments
Captain Neil Brand however brushed the criticism aside and argued that the young team was nearly 65 per cent there in terms of Test competitiveness against the WTC 2021 winners.
“I don’t think we are miles off. I said to the boys afterwards I think we were good for about 65% of the game,” Brand, South Africa’s captain for the series told reporters a day ahead of the Test match.
“Obviously we have to learn pretty quickly at this level and it’s something we are desperate to do and to put it right,” Brand added.
South Africa were able to keep New Zealand’s run rate at check in the first Test match, but dropped catches and poor fielding meant that they failed to seize the moments of the game. Williamson and Ravindra were too good to let those go and guided the team to a commanding win at Bay Oval.
Brand, however, was of the opinion that it was South Africa’s batting that cost the first Test match and said that they needed to do better.
“We have to do the right things for longer and myself, personally, I have to find a way to get through the new ball which has been tricky in these conditions,” he said.
“The wickets look like they are getting better for batting the longer you can hang out there. So, it’s just about keeping our confidence high and making sure we keep believing in ourselves,” Brand added.
The spin-bowling all-rounder, who opened batting for the side in the last Test said that he enjoyed his debut but was very tired after Day 3 of the first game. The captain signed off by saying that he was hopeful to put up some good performances in the final Test of the series.
“The Test match was really tough. On day three I was pretty tired. Dane Piedt said Hashim Amla told him that every day feels like a (whole) Test match when you are playing Test cricket,” he said. “But I have enjoyed every moment of it. I have learnt a lot about myself as a person and I really love being in this environment so hopefully I can put in a few good performances.”
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