I confess, I missed a lot of the play yesterday. Prior engagements (it’s been a busy week) meant that I was only ever going to the first half or so of the play and of course it rained. I did manage to keep up on Cricinfo though and what I saw was very impressive from New Zealand. I did say that I thought they could spring a surprise and it seems like South Africa didn’t expect their bowling to be as good as it was. There’s also the possibility, of course, that South Africa were undercooked, having not played any first class warmup matches. Regardless of the reason, South Africa are 191-7 overnight and whilst they are by no means out of the Test it does make things a lot more interesting than they might have been. They have the bowling to win anyway, and I still expect that they will, but New Zealand are putting up a good fight and sound like a very confident team at the moment.
New Zealand are also at home. It should not make a massive difference as the conditions there are similar to those in South Africa, but it does put them on the right side of a very interesting stat: of the 36 Tests that have been played in the last 12 months, touring sides have won only six and lost 20. South Africa are actually not included in that as they have not played a Test overseas in the past 12 months, but it is still an interesting sign of just how difficult it has been for teams overseas recently.