New Zealand have an extraordinarily poor record against South Africa in Tests. Of the 16 series played between these side, New Zealand have not won even a single one, while the Proteas have been victorious on 13 occasions.
Spread those series out and you’d fine that the Kiwis have only four Test match wins over the African side. But most of that record was built at a time when New Zealand weren’t a powerhouse in Test cricket like they are now, and South Africa weren’t a shadow of their former self.
The New Zealand of today are a different animal. They are the defending world champions in the Tests, although they were recently upset at home by Bangladesh of all teams.
This will be the first time that New Zealand’s South Africa-born batter would play against the country of his birth. He is expected to bat at one down. Ross Taylor has retired so his number four spot is likely to go to Henry Nicholls. There won’t be any Trent Boult, whose wife is expecting so his place is likely to go to Matt Henry.
After spending the last few years in transition, South Africa seem to have finally building towards something and seem a moderately strong unit.
They recently upset India in a home Test series so their tails must be up and confidence high. They also boast an excellent Test record against New Zealand as explained above, although the two teams haven’t faced each other in five years during which a lot has changed.
While South Africa as a unit impressed in the 2-1 series win over India, one man who failed spectacularly was Aiden Markram, whose total production for the entire series was just 76 runs.
The selectors have kept faith in him for now, which means he must deliver in this series or else his place in the playing eleven will be on the line.