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Bleak reality hits Black Caps

Published: 11:42AM Thursday March 01, 2012 Source: ONE Sport

The gap between the Black Caps and South Africa is widening by the day and chances are the gulf will only increase when the three-Test series begins in Dunedin next week.

That is the grim reality after New Zealand were brushed aside by six-wickets in the second ODI in Napier last night to concede the series with a game to play.

Outclassed in all departments, acting captain Brendon McCullum pulled one positive out of yesterday and that was the 107-run partnership between himself and Martin Guptill.

''We're standing up and getting ourselves in pretty good situations and then folding through the middle," McCullum said.

''We're going to be tested a lot more in the Tests and with their love of attacking us short," he said. ''So that's going to be a good eye-opener and to see how we respond to that.

''Obviously they've got good firepower with the ball and experience with the bat."

Indeed the fast bowling trio of Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Lonwabo Tsotsobe will only be more dangerous in the longer format.

Packed slip cordons and relaxed rules around bowling at the throat will make sure of that.

The tourists can also look forward to the arrival of fellow fast bowler Vernon Philander, who has picked up an incredible 30 wickets in four Tests, and veteran wicketkeeper Mark Boucher.

However New Zealand's inability to pick up South African wickets is perhaps the most worrying aspect of their game heading into the Test series.

AB De Villiers, Hashim Amla and JP Duminy have all made telling contributions throughout the one-day series and with Jacques Kallis still yet to fire, New Zealand have plenty to feel uneasy about.

The return of captain Ross Taylor and former captain Daniel Vettori, who will both play in Plunket Shield matches starting tomorrow, for the three-Test series should at least give the Black Caps' waning spirit a boost before next Wednesday but first they have to play one more one-dayer at Eden Park on Saturday.

With the series wrapped up, South Africa may look at giving some of their star players a rest. That may mean young fast bowler Marchant de Lange gets a run in Auckland.

The New Zealand squad of 14 for the Dunedin Test is due to be named on Friday.