New Zealand v South Africa, 1st Test, Dunedin, 5th day March 12, 2017

New Zealand assess injury list as rain ends closely-fought contest

South Africa 308 (Elgar 140, Bavuma 64, du Plessis 52, Boult 4-64) and 224 for 6 (Elgar 89, du Plessis 56*) drew with New Zealand 341 (Williamson 130, Raval 52, Watling 50, Maharaj 5-94)
Scorcard and ball-by-ball details

It was a bleak picture on the final day in Dunedin © AFP

As forecast the rain swept into Dunedin and washed out what could have been an intriguing final day to the first Test. The umpires made the inevitable call at 1.40pm to bring a damp end to a closely-contested encounter.

Much like five years ago when these two sides last met here everything was possible on the final day. In 2012, New Zealand needed 264 runs with eight wickets in hand so South Africa would have fancied their chances. The same can be said this time even though a lead of 191 was far from secure: if they had extended that to 250 it would have been a tough chase on a pitch that had never been easy for scoring swiftly.

Instead, the teams move to Wellington for second Test, which starts on March 16, having spent four days sparring at each other. There was little to split the sides: Dean Elgar and Kane Williamson traded hundreds, pace bowlers from both sides but in the hard yards and the spinners had a say on a ground not usually in their favour.

However, it's New Zealand who will leave with greater concerns because of injuries to two key players. Ross Taylor suffered a calf strain on the second day which forced him to retire hurt and he has been ruled out of the second Test. Trent Boult was then absent from the field after tea yesterday with a hip problem - he and Neil Wagner had a significant workload over the four days because of the decision to play two spinners - and will be monitored over the next three days. Losing one would be problematic; losing both would severely test New Zealand's red-ball depth.

New Zealand will need to ponder whether they re-balance the side for the Basin Reserve. Jeetan Patel now appears the No. 1 spinner which could put pressure on Mitchell Santner who laboured with the bat in the first innings in Dunedin. Santner was not used for a large part of the fourth day, but when he did finally get a bowl claimed the wicket of Temba Bavuma.

South Africa are comfortable with the set-up of their Test side - three quicks, Keshav Maharaj's spin and JP Duminy if required, although his bowling has gone backwards. Bavuma's first-innings half-century was timely for him after a lean series against Sri Lanka and while Duminy was scratchy, after a poor one-day series, he has credit in the bank in the Test line-up.

Stephen Cook missed out twice, falling to the new-ball against Boult, although appeared not to hit the ball in the second innings. Quinton de Kock faces a little personal challenge to break free from being dominated by Patel who has him four times in four innings.

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • cricfan29220871 on March 14, 2017, 18:58 GMT

    were is jesy Ryder will he play for NewZealand again??

  • GrindAR on March 13, 2017, 4:19 GMT

    SA is culprit for blocking, and not playing. Test need to implement automatic out, like lbw for blocking the balls, like 4th continuous blocking will be out ( block before wicket, bbw). this will bring good balance and and answer to bowler injuries.

  • Mervo on March 13, 2017, 2:38 GMT

    Dunedin must have the worst weather in the world. I fancied NZ to win this one.

  • Herath-UK on March 12, 2017, 21:31 GMT

    @ cricfan69564930, not really, what happens if the rain is in one of the four days?

  • broken_record on March 12, 2017, 21:02 GMT

    In recent years South Africa have battled out some famous draws and shown amazing determination, however in this Test they had a perfect opportunity to try for a win with not much risk. Faf in particular was batting selfishly and I'm sure many spectators and people watching on TV/following online were angered by the way the match panned out.

  • ESPNFAN97721308 on March 12, 2017, 8:03 GMT

    Southee is the kind of bowler that will step up if Boult's not there

  •   cricfan69564930 on March 12, 2017, 3:28 GMT

    if test cricket was over limited guys like dean elgar would show more intent....time to seek results in test cricket rather than the bore-fest we got here

  •   cricfan69564930 on March 12, 2017, 3:14 GMT

    perfect example of why tests should be 4 day matches with both teams restricted to a maximum 180 overs each....i'd also like test super-overs to decide draws.....and how about players toughening up and playing in rain...

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