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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 23 July 2024

New Zealand vs South Africa 1st Test: Rachin Ravindra becomes second-youngest kiwi to go past 200

When he was out, bowled by South Africa captain Neil Brand, Ravindra had batted six minutes more than nine hours. His was a majestic innings, full of grit and application

AP/PTI Mount Maunganui Published 06.02.24, 11:36 AM
New Zealand’s Rachin Ravindra during his marathon innings in the first essay of the first Test against South Africa at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui on Monday.

New Zealand’s Rachin Ravindra during his marathon innings in the first essay of the first Test against South Africa at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui on Monday. Getty Images

Rachin Ravindra finally caught up with his reputation on Monday, scoring 240 before New Zealand were all out for 511 on the second day of the first cricket Test against South Africa.

South Africa were in trouble at 80/4 at stumps, trailing by 431 runs. Kyle Jamieson took two wickets within three balls in the 10th over as South Africa slumped to 30/3 early.

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David Bedingham and Zubayr Hamza put on 44 for the fourth wicket but Hamza was out close to stumps, bowled by Mitchell Santner. Bedingham was 29 not out at the close of play.

The day belonged to Ravindra, who has been the “Next Big Thing” in New Zealand cricket since he was a teenager and now, at 24, has come of age.

He was a standout at high school, marked even then as a special talent. His reputation followed him when he made his first-class debut at 18, moved the New Zealand under-19 team and then into the Black Caps, first in T20 cricket in 2021 and a couple of months later into the Test team.

He realised some of his potential at last year’s World Cup in India where he was the fourth highest-scoring batsman behind superstars Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Quinton de Kock.

And on Sunday, in only his fourth Test and seventh innings three years after his debut, he arrived in Test cricket with a maiden century in the company of his idol Kane Williamson.

Williamson couldn’t go long on Monday, falling at 118 at the end of a 232-run third-wicket partnership. But Ravindra went on to 150 and then to 200 from 340 balls,
becoming the second-youngest New Zealander after Matthew Sinclair to score a double century and the third New Zealander to turn a maiden hundred into 200. Sinclair and Martin Donnely are the others.

When he was out, bowled by South Africa captain Neil Brand, Ravindra had
batted six minutes more than nine hours. His was a majestic innings, full of grit and application.

“The way I bat is just sort of natural,” Ravindra said. “The way I score is just if it’s there, I’ll hit it, if it’s not, I’ll leave or defend it. On that surface I had to be a bit selective over which balls I was going to score off. Kane was providing me with the perfect template of how to do it at the other end. Being able to lean on him throughout the partnership was great.”

In another extraordinary milestone on Monday, South Africa captain Brand took 6/119 on Test debut. Brand is only a part-time left-arm spinner and likely would not have expected to bowl with four seamers in the Proteas’ line-up. But without a specialist spinner and with the New Zealand innings taking up 144 overs, he was forced to bowl 26 overs on a drying pitch.

Brand bowled Ravindra with a ball which turned back sharply, cannoned onto the stumps from Ravindra’s leg as he tried to pull.

AP/PTI

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