New Zealand's batting problems threaten sour end to the summer

Taylor ruled out of final SA Test

Trent Boult missed the Wellington Test because of a leg injury and is expected to return in Hamilton, although Larsen said the pace bowler's fitness was still being monitored "day by day". New Zealand captain Kane Williamson did not try to hide his frustration at what he called a "very, very poor" effort from his side when they went from being in command at lunch on day two to be soundly beaten five sessions later.

It was hoped that star batsman Ross Taylor would recover from a low grade calf muscle tear in time to face the Proteas who lead the series 1-0 after an emphatic victory at the Basin Reserve in Wellington.

But here's the thing about cricket: it's a amusing old game and it can change drastically and dramatically from one ball to the next, from over to session, from one day to the next and from one era to another.

So far against South Africa, the T20 - albeit a one-off - was a walkover for the visitors, the one-day series was an oscillating affair, but two terrible batting displays in Wellington and Auckland cost New Zealand, and now they are 1-0 down in the Tests after collapsing for 171. It's important to remember, while yesterday wasn't good, it's only just over a week ago that we performed pretty well in that first test.

But the leprechaun amid the shamrocks was left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj‚ who claimed career-best figures of 6/40 in the second innings to finish with a match haul of 8/87.

McMillan, who played nearly 200 ODIs for New Zealand, said that the skipper Kane Williamson stating that his performances at the number 3 bring strength to the Kiwi batting line-up. "When they left Tim Southee out I was also surprised".

"I think they have shot themselves in the foot". Just the fact that two series before that, Bangladesh and Pakistan were here and they played on surfaces that were quite sporting for the seamers.

"I expected it to be the same‚ but obviously with the type of seam attack we have, they thought they would be under pressure‚" Piedt said.

Good thing that Hamilton isn't short on Irish pubs - by the look of things‚ SA could need somewhere to celebrate a series win next week.

"When those pressure points come up you have to have individuals stand up and grab them", McMillan said.

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