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New Zealand vs South Africa: Final Test could define season, says BJ Watling

BJ Watling is not playing down the importance of New Zealand salvaging a draw against South Africa after their Basin Reserve collapse

cricket Updated: Mar 22, 2017 17:24 IST
BJ Watling

New Zealand's BJ Watling bats during day three of the second Test cricket match between New Zealand and South Africa at the Basin Reserve in Wellington.(AFP)

BJ Watling said a second-Test defeat to South Africa was no “calamity” but knows New Zealand’s season could be judged on how they respond in Hamilton.

The Black Caps slumped to an eight-wicket loss inside three days at Basin Reserve, going 1-0 down with just one match to play after being skittled out for 171 in their second innings.

New Zealand whitewashed Pakistan and Bangladesh 2-0 before taking on the Proteas, but wicketkeeper-batsman Watling is aware those performances could easily be forgotten about if they fall short against Faf du Plessis’ side in a final Test that starts on Saturday.

Reflecting on the loss in Wellington, he said: “It’s not a calamity. There’s a lot of talk about the collapse and these things happen and we are obviously very disappointed but we’re not going to dwell on that.

“This is a very important game coming up for us. I don’t think we will judge our season on that last game. But we might on this one.”

Watling said New Zealand will also rethink their approach to facing spin after Keshav Maharaj took 6-40 to set up the South Africa victory.

“He was disciplined in his areas but that wicket wasn’t spinner-friendly,” Watling said of Maharaj.

“We were probably not as disciplined as we’d like to be and there are definitely improvements we need to make.

“We’ve played a lot of spin and we’ve got some very good players of spin in this team. For me, it’s just about making better decisions.”