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Five takeaways from New Zealand South Africa series
South Africa tour of New Zealand

Five takeaways from New Zealand South Africa series

South Africa will be thanking the rain gods as the washout on the last day of the third Test not only meant a series win for them, but also an additional prize money of $300,000 as they moved past the Aussies to finish at the second spot in the ICC Test Rankings before the annual cutoff date of April 1. The closely fought series produced a number of brilliant moment in patches. Here are a few of the talking points from the series.

KW’s brilliance

 credits: AFP

credits: AFP

He might be the least talked about person when it comes to the comparison of the fantastic four, but he has broken a string of records in the series along with a potentially match-winning knock of 176 at Hamilton, had rain not played the spoiled sport. In Taylor's absence and Latham struggling with the bat, it was no coincidence that New Zealand competed in the two matches that Williamson scored big hundreds in. With 17 hundreds, Williamson is tied with Martin Crow at the top of the ladder for the Kiwis. He also became the fastest to reach 5000 runs for the Kiwis in 110 innings.

Amla’s rough patch

 credits: AFP

credits: AFP

The lean patch of Amla in the away series has not only resulted in a drop in his average from the late 50s to current 49.5, but the all-weather warrior tag has also taken a hit due to a string of low scores in away series. South Africa’s fourth highest run-getter in Test cricket has averaged only 20.31, without a hundred, in the last 13 away Tests. In the absence of AB de Villiers and relatively inexperienced lower middle order, Amla’s form has become a worry for the Proteas. While AB de Villiers is expected to return for England tour, South Africa will need Amla at his best to tackle the English in their backyard.

Duminy’s future

 credits: AFP

credits: AFP

In the absence of AB de Villiers, JP Duminy had gotten a chance to revive his Test career. But a string of ordinary scores hasn't helped the cause. He has averaged 22.05 in his previous 13 away Tests. With their next Test assignment scheduled for July in England and the expected return of AB de Villiers, it is unlikely that Duminy will feature in whites for the Proteas again.

QdK’s rise

 credits: AFP

credits: AFP

Undoubtedly the best wicketkeeper-batsman in the world right now, Quinton de Kock was the difference between the two sides in this series. Other than stepping up for the last game despite the injury, his 160 runs critical partnership with Temba Bavuma was perhaps the turning point in the series. He finished the series with 210 runs at an average of 52.50, with 13 catches and 2 stumpings to go by.

Matt Henry’s fortunes

 credits: AFP

credits: AFP

The exclusion of Matt Henry from the first two games of the series had raised quite a few eyebrows. While the decision to drop Tim Southee in favour of an extra spinner had taken away the limelight from the issue, the preference of Colin de Grandhomme raised quite a few eyebrows. Henry has fallen the pecking order, even below the rookie Lockie Ferguson, who made his debut against Australia last year. Henry eventually played the last game at the expense of Southee and Boult’s injuries, delivering extended quality spells. He claimed four vital wickets in the first innings while adding another to the rain-curtailed second innings of the visitors. While he is not the first-choice bowler in the presence of Southee and Boult, a string of excellent performances with the ball in recent time make him a deserved candidate for the first team.


The writer tweets @khaledumair