New Zealand and South Africa will lock horns in the first Test of the two-match series starting on February 17, Thursday at Hagley Oval, Christchurch.
New Zealand will be without their veteran trio of Ross Taylor, Kane Williamson, and Trent Boult in this Test. This will be the first time since January 2008 that at least one of the above-mentioned trio isn’t part of Kiwis’ Test playing XI.
With this Test series being a part of the ongoing World Test Championship, their absence could be a major setback for the hosts. Captain Tom Latham will be enjoying conditions at the venue after his most recent knock of 252 against Bangladesh on the same ground back in January earlier this year.
Meanwhile, South Africa will enter this series after a handsome victory over India in the recently concluded Test series at home. However, they will be without their in-form top-order batter, Keegan Petersen, who has been ruled out of the tour due to COVID-19.
With Quinton de Kock also announcing his Test retirement, the Dean Elgar-led side will be having their backs against the wall. Sarel Erwee, who has been decent enough in the domestic circuit, is expected to replace Petersen in the XI on this tour.
New Zealand vs South Africa Match Details
Match: New Zealand vs South Africa, Match 1
Date and Time: February 17-21, 3:30 AM IST.
Venue: Hagley Oval, Christchurch
New Zealand vs South Africa Weather Report
The weather looked satisfying during this encounter. On Days 3 and 4, there’s a bit of rainfall predicted as per the forecast. Otherwise, we can expect a full contest to happen with temperatures hovering around 20 degrees Celsius.
New Zealand vs South Africa Pitch Report
Though the wicket is green, it might not be completely favorable for pace bowlers. Of late, batters have enjoyed batting on this surface - the most recent being Tom Latham’s 252 in January 2022 against Bangladesh. Pacers, who extract good bounce and swing, are expected to be useful in the initial days.
New Zealand vs South Africa Probable XIs
The Kiwis' middle order looks a bit shaky after Ross Taylor’s retirement. Henry Nicholls and Daryl Mitchell have a lot to do in Taylor’s absence. Pace quartet Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, and Matt Henry are expected to be a part of the XI.
Kane Williamson and Trent Boult will miss the first Test at Hagley Oval. Head coach Gary Stead has already confirmed the top five and the Blackcaps are most likely to go with an all-pace attack with Colin de Grandhomme and Daryl Mitchell being pace all-rounders.
Playing XI: Tom Latham (c), Will Young, Devon Conway, Henry Nicholls, Daryl Mitchell, Colin de Grandhomme, Tom Blundell, Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Matt Henry
Just before the start of the tour, South Africa were dealt a big blow as their in-form batter Keegan Petersen was ruled out of the tour after contracting COVID-19. Zubayr Hamza has been announced as his replacement.
Captain Dean Elgar has stressed that Sarel Erwee is getting a chance in place of Keegan in both Tests. Keshav Maharaj is expected to be the lone spin choice for the Proteas. Duanne Olivier, Lungi Ngidi, Kagiso Rabada, and Marco Jansen will lead the pace attack.
Playing XI: Dean Elgar (c), Aiden Markram, Sarel Erwee, Rassie van der Dussen, Temba Bavuma, Kyle Verreynne, Marco Jansen, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Duanne Olivier.
New Zealand vs South Africa Prediction
South Africa completely dominated the Blackcaps in the longest format of the game in New Zealand. In 20 Tests, these two sides played against each other in New Zealand, South Africa won eight encounters and NZ managed to win only one.
South Africa are also coming on the back of a brilliant series win against India. The Proteas took a much more balanced side and can come out all guns blazing in the opening Test.
Prediction: South Africa to win this encounter.
New Zealand vs South Africa TV Channel and live streaming details
TV: Amazon Prime Video, Spark Sport, SuperSport
Online: Amazon Prime Video
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