Proteas’ Tshepo Moreki: We’re in the game now, the live bullets are flying

South Africa’s Tshepo Moreki appeals unsuccessfully for the wicket of New Zealand’s Kane Williamson (R) during day one of the first cricket Test match between New Zealand and South Africa at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui

Proteas bowler Tshepho Moreki (pictured left) is satisfied with his team’s position after day one of the first Test against New Zealand at Mount Maunganui on Sunday. Picture: Michael Bradley/AFP

Published Feb 4, 2024


Despite a day in which New Zealand ended in a strong position, Proteas bowler Tshepho Moreki is still satisfied with his team’s position after day one of the first Test at Mount Maunganui on Sunday.

At the close of play, New Zealand were in a commanding position of 258/2, with both Kane Williamson (112*) and Rachin Ravindra (118*) notching up unbeaten tons.

With six debutants in the team for South Africa, including captain Neil Brand, it was surprising to see the hosts reduced to 39/2 in the first session.

However, with Williamson and Ravindra steering the Black Caps to a good score - South Africa will need to make early inroads on day two.

Flying start

"It started off really well this morning. It was good to get off to a flying start. We knew it was going to be difficult. They’re a good, experienced batting lineup. We knew were going to have to toil,” said Moreki.

“We did create a couple chances that went down. But that happens in cricket. I thought we stuck at it quite nicely. We created some pressure moments, and we hope to do more of the same tomorrow.”

Duanne Olivier (0/62), with 15 Tests to his name, led the Proteas attack as the enforcer. However, his 19 overs yielded no wickets on a difficult day for the bowlers.

Moreki (1/81) and Dane Paterson (1/59) started well, but after their initial success it was a testing assignment.

“It’s one of those wickets where there’s very little pace in it. You have to create opportunities by getting that run rate back down to around 2.5.

“Earlier on, Ruan du Swardt bowled well. He was able to create pressure. We just need more of that, and that is patience.

“They scored 65 in the first two hours and 60 in the second session. The lengths we hit were really good today. It was tough to hit through the line initially, but once they got in it was a little bit easier.”

With New Zealand upping their run-rate late in the day, it was not a big concern for Moreki.

‘The live bullets are flying’

“Their run-rate went up to three at the end of the day which is to be expected as things got easier. We would have probably taken that score, but maybe with a couple more wickets.

“Day two will be easier emotionally. We’re in the game now. The live bullets are flying. We’ve all played enough first class cricket to find a way on that surface to stop the scoring.”

As for the conditions, after an uncertain start - Moreki believed day two would bear more fruit.

“Not a lot of us have played here, so we weren’t sure. We thought if we got a lot of balls in the right areas early we could get into their middle order with a pretty fresh ball.

“We didn’t take as many wickets as we would like. We’ll come again tomorrow, and do it all over again.”


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