Keshav Maharaj’s double strike in the second session has left New Zealand on 139-5 on day three in Wellington.
The Black Caps will need a Bavuma/De Kock-inspired partnership to get them out of the situation they’re in, as they lead by only 48 runs, with five wickets in hand going in to the final session.
Jeet Raval has been a rock in their lineup, navigating the spin of Maharaj well and executing the short ball to perfection to edge to 72. The rest of the lineup, however, have been found wanting yet again. Henry Nicholls was the only one to step forward in the first innings, and now New Zealand need more than just the bat of Raval to give themselves a chance.
Morne Morkel produced a blistering spell in the morning session to see off Tom Latham (6) and skipper Kane Williamson (1), and that continued after the break with the wicket of debutant Neil Broom for 20.
The 32nd over, sent down by Maharaj, proved to be the one which separated the men from the boys, as Nicholls was bowled for seven, before Jimmy Neesham (4) needlessly charged down the wicket to smash one straight to Faf du Plessis at short mid-wicket. At 86-4, the hosts looked dead and buried.
That’s when the ever-resilient BJ Watling strode to the crease, who manufactured 14 off 43 to keep the wickets column from running out of control. Quinton de Kock missed a stumping chance to remove Raval off JP Duminy’s first over when he was on 67, in what was an otherwise chanceless knock from the opener, who now carries New Zealand’s hopes on setting a defendable target.
Photo: Andrew Carnage/Backpage Pix