CRICKET: Nash's decision disturbs batting

FOR THE last six Test matches at what used to be called Lancaster Park but now masquerades under the name of the Jade Stadium, the side winning the toss has opted to field first, seldom with the desired result.

Dion Nash broke the mould when he won the toss at the start of the second Test and will soon have regretted that he did not follow the contemporary fashion when New Zealand were bundled out for 168. Apart from some early movement which you would expect on the first day from almost any Test pitch, there was not much in it for the bowlers and New Zealand foundered because of bad batting. While Shaun Pollock bowled well for four wickets, Allan Donald, who picked up three, was not the menace he usually is.

The standard of cricket was disappointing throughout the day and although New Zealand have the built-in excuse that three of their principal batsmen - Stephen Fleming, their captain, Craig McMillan and Chris Cairns - are injured, they would have expected to have made a much better fist of it than this.

Brian Young was bowled between bat and pad by Donald and after Roger Twose had driven without moving into line, New Zealand were 18 for 2. There were now some good strokes from Matt Horne and Nathan Astle before Horne drove at Jacques Kallis's second ball without any footwork and was caught at second slip.

Gary Stead, in his first Test, now glanced his first ball for four and batted with composure until the lunch interval when New Zealand were 104 for 3. Immediately afterwards, three wickets fell for 11 runs, all to poor strokes, and the innings never recovered in front of a poor crowd.

Astle square cut Donald without due care and attention and was caught at third man. Then, Chris Harris pushed with firm wrists at one which lifted and should have been left alone, while Gary Stead slashed without any footwork and was caught by the wicketkeeper, Mark Boucher, off Donald, who left the field in his 18th over with a slight stomach strain.

Pollock and Paul Adams then finished off the innings and South Africa were left with 24 overs to face before the close. Kirsten and Herschelle Gibbs remained in control during an excellent opening spell by Simon Doull, who had to go off in his sixth over with a strained ankle, limping uncomfortably from the field. Kirsten, who hit a commanding 35, including six boundaries, and Gibbs, who finished on 15, were not troubled later as Nash gave all his bowlers a try.

First day; New Zealand won toss

NEW ZEALAND - First Innings

M J Horne c Kirsten b Kallis 36

B A Young b Donald 5

R G Twose c Cullinan b Pollock 0

N J Astle c Klusener b Donald 44

G R Stead c Boucher b Donald 27

C Z Harris c Adams b Pollock 0

A C Parore c sub b Pollock 14

*D J Nash lbw b Adams 14

D L Vettori lbw b Adams 18

S B Doull c Boucher b Pollock 0

G I Allott not out 1

Extras (4lb 5nb) 9

Total (63.4 overs) 168

Fall: 1-13 2-18 3-60 4-112 5-115 6-115 7-138 8-157 9-157.

Bowling: Donald 17.5-4-54-3; Pollock 17-5-34-4; Klusener 12-3-37-0; Kallis 5-1-21-1; Cronje 6.1-4-9-0; Adams 5.4-2-9-2.

SOUTH AFRICA - First Innings

G Kirsten not out 35

H H Gibbs not out 15

Extras (2lb 2nb) 4

Total (for 0, 24 overs) 54

To bat: J H Kallis, D J Cullinan, *W J Cronje, J N Rhodes, S M Pollock, M V Boucher, L Klusener, P R Adams, A A Donald.

Bowling: Doull 5.5-2-6-0; Allott 9-2-29-0; Nash 4-0-15-0; Astle 0.1-0- 0-0; Vettori 4-3-1-0; Stead 1-0-1-0.

Umpires: K T Francis (S Lanka) and D M Quested.

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