Cape Town - JP Duminy has credited his work behind the scenes and the will to grab the opportunity for his career-best 4/47 in the second Test against New Zealand at the Basin Reserve in Wellington on Thursday.
Duminy’s figures are the best by a South African off-spinner in New Zealand since 1964, a rare occurrence on the opening day of a Test match.
He was the unlikely hero with the ball for the Proteas as they dismissed New Zealand for 268 in conditions which were tipped to favour their pace arsenal, and made a telling impact with three wickets in three overs including the important one of centurion, Henry Nicholls.
“It’s something that I’ve been working on for a period of time without reaping the rewards,” he said at stumps on Thursday.
“I guess it comes down to opportunities because if you look at recent Test matches, our pace attack coupled with Keshav (Maharaj), has done very well. I’ve got the odd over here or there, so there haven’t been many opportunities.
“If you look at a spinner, he generally needs a few overs to get success, and today was one of those days when I had an opportunity and the key is always to try and get a wicket in your first three overs to keep the ball. I was pretty pleased with the way it came out today.
“It is not a wicket that we would think spinners would dominate on,” he added.
“I think the plan and strategy we had to take wickets was a really good one. We tried to bowl a bit of a wider line because there wasn’t a lot of purchase there for spinners. I thought our tactics were pretty good.”
Duminy gave praise to Nicholls, whose maiden Test century anchored New Zealand’s innings after a determined start from the pace attack. The home team was under pressure at 21/3 in the first hour when Nicholls came to the crease, but his composure and positive attitude during a tough opening session against the new ball led the hosts to a competitive first innings total.
He hopes the Proteas’ batting line-up will take some tips from Nicholls’ innings, as they look to make it a ‘three-tick’ day on Friday after the dismissal of openers, Dean Elgar and Stephen Cook.
“I think it’s his maiden Test hundred,” he said.
“To come out and play as positively as he did was probably the way to go on a surface like that. He never backed off, always looked to play his shots. On a wicket like that it was the recipe for success and hopefully we can take something out of that.
“It is probably evenly poised,” he added. “Tomorrow (Friday) is going to be a big day in terms of where this Test match goes. We are looking for a ‘three-tick’ day and we going to have to graft hard as a batting unit.
"There was still a little bit in that wicket. It has perhaps kind of died a little but that first hour tomorrow (Friday) is going to be crucial with a hint of swing with Southee there. We are going to have to bat well."
Hashim Amla (0*) and nightwatchman Kagiso Rabada (8*) will resume the innings on 24/2 on Friday.