SA eye record books ahead of 2nd Test
South Africa and New Zealand square up in Thursday's second Test with several individual milestones threatening to overshadow what is turning out to be a highly-competitive series.
After the first drawn Test, South African skipper Graeme Smith admitted the chance for three of his players to enter the history books during the match had added extra spice.
Gary Kirsten will play his 100th test, paceman Shaun Pollock needs one wicket to break the South African record of 330 while Jacques Kallis could equal Australian Don Bradman's record of centuries in six consecutive tests.
"It definitely is a motivation," Smith told reporters. "We've got some outstanding cricketers who've been around for a long time and really performed well.
"Any milestones that you achieve builds some confidence in your team. Your senior players set the tone and the team is really proud of their achievements.
"It really inspires the young guys to go and do more, and that's what we want."
Kirsten, 36, who earlier this week announced his retirement from international cricket, will become the first South African and one of just 29 players to play 100 tests.
"Gary's not the loudest of guys, he's a fun character and very hard on the cricket field. He does get the best out of the guys and been a major influence on me and the team," said Smith.
New Zealand have two personal targets as well.
All rounder Chris Cairns took just one wicket in the drawn first test to move to 198, just two short of becoming the second New Zealander to 200 wickets. He also sits on 2892 runs, leaving him 108 runs and two wickets short of becoming the sixth player in the world to do the 3000-200 double.
Craig McMillan also sits on 2928 runs, and is in a race with Cairns to become the eighth New Zealander to 3000.
Even without the possible records, the Test is shaping up into what New Zealand coach John Bracewell called "two sides going at it hammer and tongs".
Both sides go into the Test surprised at the way the tour has worked out so far with underdogs New Zealand taking the one-day series at 5-1 and the first test in Hamilton last week ending in an intriguing draw coloured by a controversial pitch.
Bracewell said he was satisfied with how his bowlers attacked Kallis in the Hamilton test, despite his batting exhibition of 92 and 150 not out.
"It doesn't look very successful because he batted magnificently well in the last test. He has enormous patience to go with a real gift," Bracewell said.
"Our plan of bowling straighter to him is one that can be successful. He does tend to go hard at the ball early, and even tends to lunge at the ball.
"We had four or five lbw shouts which on a good day may have been given. On his day they weren't given."
New Zealand (from): Stephen Fleming (captain), Mark Richardson, Michael Papps, Scott Styris, Craig McMillan, Chris Cairns, Jacob Oram, Brendon McCullum, Daniel Vettori, Daryl Tuffey, Ian Butler, Paul Wiseman, Chris Martin.
South Africa (from): Graeme Smith (captain), Herschelle Gibbs, Jacques Rudolph, Jacques Kallis, Gary Kirsten, Neil McKenzie, Mark Boucher, Shaun Pollock, Paul Adams, Makhaya Ntini, Andre Nel, Nicky Boje, Albie Morkel, David Terbrugge.
Umpires: Asoka de Silva (SRI), Aleem Dar (PAK).