Ricochet News

Proteas saved by rain to win Test Series 1-0 against Black Caps

By Marc Jacobson - Mar 29, 2017
Proteas saved by rain to win Test Series 1-0 against Black Caps

As the Proteas stared down the barrel heading into the fifth and final day of the third Test against the Black Caps at Seddon Park in Hamilton, the heavens opened and without a single delivery being bowled, the match was abandoned – meaning South Africa won the series 1-0.

New Zealand were strongly favoured to clinch the series on day five, with the Proteas already half beaten on 80/5, with a 95-run deficit to still equalise; and that aside the overtake they would need to actually win or force a draw. However, a draw it became thanks to the rain.

The rain certainly did come as a blessing-in-disguise for the Proteas, but to New Zealand, their frustration would have mounted all to no avail.

South Africa’s most promising prospects would have been to play for a draw, which captain Faf du Plessis described as a to-be ‘blockathon’, with him and Quinton de Kock setting out to take the crease on the last day.

“New Zealand outplayed us in this game and deserved to win and they will count themselves unlucky,” du Plessis told the media following the match abandonment.

"I'm pleased with another series win away from home but to be honest I think we played very much under par, especially the batting unit,” du Plessis said.

This analysis comes after the top-order batsmen failed to pull their weight where they should have in anchoring the side in this Test Series, specifically with the struggling form of opener Stephen Cook, scoring 3, 0, 3 and 11 in his four innings’ of the first two Tests respectively.

Theunis de Bruin, who replaced Cook, also was not too worthy of a causal replacement in the third Test, after going out for a duck and then running himself out for just 12 in the second.

Additionally, with an average of 20.80 in all three Tests, JP Duminy has also failed to deliver as a number four Test batsman, and on all too many occasions lately.

The consistent early top-order collapse also saw South Africa on 97/4 in the first innings and then 59/5 in the second – with someone in the middle to lower order always having to step in and rejuvenate some runs.

"In a test match when the series is on the line you are looking for your players to front up and make it as hard as possible for the opposition to get your wicket," he said. "I thought... that didn't happen,” du Plessis said regarding his dissatisfaction. 

"But the good, strong teams find ways to win Test matches and series. And while we didn't play very well, we somehow found ourselves winning another away series," he added.

The result of winning the Series also sees the Proteas fortunately move up to second on the ICC Test Rankings, replacing Australia, who drops to third.