The test that could have been

The cricket season of 2016-17 had its highs and its lows. How close we came to winning a one day series against South Africa, only to have a monumental batting collapse in the fifth and deciding match. And yet three test matches later against the same opponent, how close we came to winning only for the weather to intervene.

So, as New Zealand’s domestic cricket season closes, we can look back at the matches played and enjoy the high’s and commisserate about the lows.

The matches against Bangladesh were a good warm up series. New Zealand had an opportunity to remove the rust from the winter season and get its bowling and batting line ups firing on all cylinders. Two tests including one where Bangladesh scored 595 showed up some serious issues with the bowling, whilst Tom Latham and Kane Williamson gave good accounts of their batting.

Australia followed in a rain interrupted Chappell-Hadlee series where New Zealand took both matches at 6 and 24 runs respectively. Both matches were nail biters that went into the final overs.

It will be the the test that ended yesterday that cricket followers in New Zealand will rue the most. New Zealand’s bowlers were afflicted by injury that in the third and final test against South Africa, left them without their two most potent bowlers Tim Southee and Trent Boult. It left them without batsman Ross Taylor to help Kane Williamson to steady the innings, despite at the end of the day the team doing a sterling job rallying to help.

It has been more than a decade since New Zealand bet South Africa in a test. With South Africa teetering at 95/5 in its second innings, still nearly 100 runs behind New Zealand, which still had a batting innings to spare, the prospect was there for a famous victory.

Alas, it shall now wait for another season as New Zealand reverts to its winter sports.

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