Trent Boult has been ruled out of the second Test at the Basin Reserve, starting in Wellington on Thursday.
After losing Ross Taylor in the first Test, New Zealand have been dealt another blow as their star bowler will miss the second Test due to a calf strain.
South African captain Faf du Plessis said the absence of Boult and Taylor will hurt New Zealand.
‘If you lose two key players like that you definitely feel you’re a little bit light,’ he said. ‘For a new batsman coming in it’s important for us to put pressure on him and not make him feel comfortable. From a bowling perspective, Boult is a huge loss.’
With the first Test drawn, Du Plessis is well aware that they need to take advantage of a weakened New Zealand side in what is effectively now a two-Test series.
‘When it comes to a two-match series you have to be a little bit more street smart because it can go both ways,’ he said. ‘You go 1-0 down in the series there’s no coming back from that, so it’s getting yourself in a position where you can try and make sure you win.’
Neither team has confirmed its lineup, but Tim Southee expects that he will replace Boult.
‘I’ll come in for Boulty, a straight swap for Trent, who will unfortunately miss this one,’ Southee said, adding that the balance of the side was still being debated, despite the green wicket.
‘There are a couple of question marks around a couple of players, but I can confirm I come in for Trent and Neil Broom comes in for Rosco [Taylor]. But they’ll finalise the side tomorrow [Thursday].’
Neil Broom will make his Test debut in Wellington. The 33-year-old has played 30 ODIs, including three in the recent series against South Africa where he had scores of two, two and a duck.
Matt Henry is also in line to replace Boult, and if the wicket dictates one spinner, New Zealand may leave out Mitchell Santner and stick with Jeetan Patel, who has been in fine form since his return to the national side.
Patel has had a hold over Quinton de Kock, having dismissed the 24-year-old in his past four innings. Du Plessis refrained from reading too much into the dismissals.
‘Quinton doesn’t over-analyse things too much. He relies on instinct, so yes, Jeetan has got the best of him this series, but Quinton will always find a way.’
Du Plessis confirmed that he expects the same XI for Thursday.
‘I don’t expect too many changes. We’re looking at possibly, maybe one, but highly unlikely,’ he said.
Photo: John Cowpland/www.photosport.nz