TELFORD VICE at University Oval
KAGISO Rabada is recovering from a stomach bug, but he seems in better shape than Ross Taylor after two days of the first test in Dunedin.
Team management said after stumps on Thursday, which New Zealand reached on 177/3 in reply to South Africa first innings of 308, that Rabada had taken ill on Wednesday afternoon but had since “stopped vomiting”.
Despite his condition the fast bowler has pulled his weight, batting for 20 minutes and bowling 14 overs.
Taylor would seem much worse off. He retired hurt with an injured calf after facing 20 balls, and limped gingerly off the field supported by team officials.
The stalwart of 81 tests, who with Kane Williamson represents the heart of New Zealand’s batting, could be in danger of missing the rest of the series.
Team management have yet to issue an update on Taylor’s condition.
Another player who knows injury all too well, Morne Morkel, made a satisfactory return from a lingering back problem in 10 overs in which he went wicketless but impressed South Africa’s bowling coach, Charl Langeveldt.
“His pace was up, he bowled a good amount of overs, he bowled really well and he got the ball in good areas,” Langeveldt said.
“But the key thing was that Morne Morkel’s pace was up and he was bowling at 100%.”
Williamson will resume on Friday on 78 not out, and Langeveldt knew his wicket would be precious.
“We have to box smart and try and contain Kane Williamson; he’s the key,” Langeveldt said.
“I’m not sure whether Ross Taylor is going to come back but he’s a good batsman and they’ve got a few allrounders coming in. So we still have to bowl well to get them out.
“(On Friday) morning I feel we’ll have that opportunity, and then we need to box smart after that.”
South Africa’s most dangerous bowler could be Vernon Philander, whose knack for finding whatever assistance there is in any surface looms as an important factor.
“I think Kane’s on top at the moment, but ‘Vern’ is a strong character,” Langeveldt said.
“He will come back strong (on Friday) morning – I know him to be like that.
“He bowls good areas, so he’s going to ask questions.”
The trick, for South Africa, is to make sure New Zealand don’t have too many answers.