South Africa won the toss and decided to bat against New Zealand
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Jeetan Patel joins Mitchell Santner in a double spin attack © BCCI
New Zealand sprung a selection surprise in Dunedin by omitting Tim Southee, their vice-captain with 201 Test wickets to his name, in favour of a twin-spin attack for the first time at University Oval. Jeetan Patel will partner Mitchell Santner while Jimmy Neesham’s extra pace has been preferred ahead of Colin de Grandhomme.
This is the first Test pitch for a new University Oval groundsman and uncertainty abounded. Faf du Plessis had the choice at the toss and opted to bat first which ended a run of 22 consecutive Tests where bowling first has been the decision in New Zealand. Kane Williamson said the surface looked “a bit drier than usual” but admitted it had been a difficult team selection.
South Africa confirmed their XI yesterday with a recall for Morne Morkel who has not played Test cricket since 2015. He has overcome a serious back injury but has had just two one-day games back in South Africa to prove his fitness.
New Zealand have only beaten South Africa four times in their history – twice 1962, in 1994 and 2004 – but have won all four home Tests this season against Pakistan and Bangladesh. South Africa won the T20 and one-day legs of this tour.
New Zealand 1 Tom Latham, 2 Jeet Raval, 3 Kane Williamson (capt), 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Henry Nicholls, 6 Jimmy Neesham, 7 BJ Watling (wk), 8 Mitchell Santner, 9 Neil Wagner, 10 Jeetan Patel, 11 Trent Boult
South Africa 1 Stephen Cook, 2 Dean Elgar, 3 Hashim Amla, 4 Faf du Plessis (capt), 5 JP Duminy, 6 Temba Bavuma, 7 Quinton de Kock (wk), 8 Vernon Philander, 9 Keshav Maharaj, 10 Morne Morkel, 11 Kagiso Rabada
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo