SA in New Zealand
Napier pitch excites AB
Cape Town – South Africa will try to go for the one-day
international series kill against New Zealand on Wednesday on a pitch that may
not differ too much from the Wanderers back home.
The Proteas lead one-nil entering the second of three ODIs
(03:00 SA time) and by all accounts McLean Park in Napier ought to be an
unusual belter by Kiwi standards.
In a Cricket South Africa audio release of his captain’s
press conference ahead of the game, AB De Villiers said the venue had a “hard
pitch ... rock hard”.
He added: “It’s the hardest (one) I’ve tapped in this
country yet, by a long way.”
De Villiers anticipates a potentially high-scoring affair -
in line with the ground’s reputation - on a good one-day strip which may offer
some bounce to his tall seamers like Morne Morkel and Lonwabo Tsotsobe but not
necessarily much in the way of seam movement, which makes a change from most
other New Zealand pitches.
He also hinted heavily that the Proteas would go in with the
same XI which saw off the Black Caps by six wickets on Saturday.
“It’s tough to make changes when you are winning; we’ll probably
pretty much go with the same combination.”
That may be dependent on the fitness of top-order batsmen
Graeme Smith, who has been nursing a “stiff and sore” arm, and Hashim Amla who
has a cold; De Villiers nevertheless fancies both to take their places.
Asked about his non-usage of all-rounder Albie Morkel in a
bowling capacity in the victory at Wellington, the skipper said it was purely
down to on-the-day circumstance.
“It’s not that I don’t back Albs ... things just worked out
that way (at Westpac Stadium).
“Every time I considered using Albie something else just
De Villiers also praised the economy of main spinner Robin
Peterson - the left-armer conceded only 45 runs in his full 10 overs for two
wickets - in Wellington, considering that he had tended to bowl at unfavourable
times from a run-tempo point of view.