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South Africa will be treating the second Test match against New Zealand starting at the Basin Reserve in Wellington on Thursday as a ‘must-win’. Proteas captain, Faf du Plessis, emphasised the importance of achieving a favourable result following the drawn first Test in Dunedin earlier this week, which has left the series closely balanced with two matches to play.

“Yes I would, but I would weigh up how far I would be able to push the boundary,” Du Plessis said when asked if he would risk losing the match to win it.  “From a ‘setting up the game’ point of view, we will play the match like we play every single game,” he explained. “We will try and set it up so that if the opportunity presents itself later in the Test match I will be looking at that.”

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New Zealand captain Kane Williamson has gained two spots to reach second rank in the ICC Player Rankings for Test Batsmen released today after the first Test against South Africa in Dunedin which ended in a draw.

The latest rankings, which also take into account performances in the first Test between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in Galle which the home side won by 259 runs, sees Williamson leapfrog Joe Root and Virat Kohli after his fine knock of 130. 

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South Africa and New Zealand were forced to settle for a draw in the first Test of their three-match series after the final day of their clash at the University Oval in Dunedin was washed out by rain on Sunday.

With the match poised for an interesting finish where all three results were possible, the weather had the ultimate say as drizzle turned to steady rain, which was then on and off throughout.

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South Africa will need to be strategic in their approach as they map out the way to a possible victory on the final day of the first Test match against New Zealand in Dunedin on Sunday. Heavy rain has been forecast for most of the day on Sunday, but all three results remain possible if the weather stays clear at the University Oval.

The match has been an intriguing battle between the teams, a gripping contest which has see-sawed from one side to the other. Proteas batting coach, Neil McKenzie, says the team is hoping to set up a situation which allows them to dictate their terms in the match.

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Half-centuries from Dean Elgar and Faf du Plessis allowed South Africa to grind themselves into a position of nominal control on the fourth day of the first Test against New Zealand at the University Oval.

The pair were forced to battle in frigid conditions on a wearing wicket that made run-scoring extremely difficult, and their 80-run stand for the fourth wicket helped South Africa close the day on 224 for six, giving them a lead of 191 runs. 

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Left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj recorded his maiden five-wicket haul to keep the Standard Bank Proteas in touch with New Zealand on the third day of the first Test in Dunedin.

With the home side threatening to achieve a meaningful first-innings lead, thanks largely to Kane Williamson’s superb century, Maharaj bagged the last three wickets to finish with figures of 5 for 94 and keep New Zealand to a first-innings total of 341.

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New Zealand opener Martin Guptill will undergo a six week-long strength and conditioning rehabilitation programme before returning to the field.

Guptill suffered hamstring strains to both legs during the 2016-17 summer and following medical consultation, will miss the remainder of the New Zealand domestic season and the beginning of the Indian Premier League. 

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