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Ivy set to save SA from series loss

A South Pacific tropical cyclone is likely to save South Africa from the ignominy, for now, of its first one-day series loss against New Zealand.

india Updated: Feb 27, 2004 11:18 IST

A South Pacific tropical cyclone is likely to save South Africa on Saturday from the ignominy, for now, of its first one-day cricket series loss with New Zealand.

The fifth game in the six game series is due at Eden Park Saturday with New Zealand leading 3-1 but civil defence authorities over much of New Zealands North Island were warning of heavy rain thanks to a double hit from a Tasman Sea depression and cyclone Ivy from the Pacific.

Popular all-rounder Chris Harris was a beaming addition to the New Zealand squad as coach John Bracewell eyes him as a trump card for another likely slow, low drop-in pitch.

Bracewell said there was "a very good chance" Harris would play, leaving the dilemma of which two pacemen to leave out from Daryl Tuffey, Kyle Mills and Michael Mason, assuming the all round qualities of Chris Cairns and Jacob Oram are deemed indispensable.

A stung South Africa had the day off training Thursday but Bracewell had his entire bowling attack on Eden Park's outer oval for a workout to start their loading for the first test starting in Hamilton on March 10.

Bracewell said no one had been ruled out yet for Saturday and Tuffey was just getting into his bowling workloads again, although he appeared a likely candidate to rest his knee problem for another match.

"With the slowness of the pitch last time they tended to struggle with the changes of pace and we're hoping that'll be the case this time," Bracewell said of Harris' likely inclusion to partner the in-form Daniel Vettori.

Harris, 34, was as excited to be playing as he was at debut 14 years ago.

"I've obviously had some great memories here and this is a good a place as any to make a comeback," he said.

New Zealand's confidence took a further boost from their six-wicket win in Dunedin, their third straight which gave them a 3-1 lead in the six-match series.

Having strived for consistency among his charges, Bracewell now finds himself trying to calm them down with a series win in their minds.

"That was probably our best all-round team performance in terms of our bowling and fielding gelling together and I thought it was an extremely professional batting performance.

"As long as we stay in our own game and not worry about what everyone else is saying we'll be fine.

"That's the hardest thing when you have a bit of success, you start to listen to what's said even more than when you're having a bad trot.

"It's as difficult to deal with as the bad times."

New Zealand (from): Stephen Fleming (captain), Michael Papps, Hamish Marshall, Scott Styris, Craig McMillan, Chris Cairns, Jacob Oram, Chris Harris, Brendon McCullum, Daniel Vettori, Kyle Mills, Daryl Tuffey, Michael Mason.

South Africa (from): Graeme Smith (captain), Herschelle Gibbs, Jacques Kallis, Boeta Dippenaar, Jacques Rudolph, Mark Boucher, Shaun Pollock, Lance Klusener, Nicky Boje, Makhaya Ntini, Andre Nel, Albie Morkel, Robin Peterson, Ashwell Prince.

First Published: Feb 27, 2004 11:18 IST