New Zealand aim to repel pace barrage
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New Zealand batsmen were subjected to a barrage of hostile deliveries from their own bowlers as they prepared to combat South Africa's formidable attack in the second and final Test against South Africa starting at St George's Park tomorrow.
"Now that you know the challenge, the intensity and attitude that you put into training has to be as close to a match as possible," said fast bowler Chris Martin in explaining his team's unorthodox preparation New Zealand were blown away for 45 in the first innings of the first Test in Cape Town on the way to defeat by an innings and 27 runs.
The damage was done by South Africa's pace trio of Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel.
Although Philander will miss the second Test because of a hamstring strain, New Zealand's batsmen will again face a formidable challenge from Steyn, Morkel, Jacques Kallis and Rory Kleinveldt, who will replace Philander.
"It's hard to imagine facing Steyn, Morkel and Philander in the nets," said Martin, "but as a group of bowlers we're trying to lift the ante a little against our batters to make sure they get what they need out of training, a little more hostility, more aggression.
"If you walk away having trained like that you can feel more ready to deal with the fight."
The first Test ended inside three days. While the South Africans were given three days off before reassembling in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday, the tourists were in the nets the day after the Test ended in an attempt to lift their game before the final match of the series.
There is such a wide gulf between world champions South Africa and eighth-ranked New Zealand that the host nation will drop a point on the International Cricket Council rankings if they win the series 1-0.