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Proteas battle fatigue for NZ Test finale

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 28/03/2017 Angelo Risso

<span style="font-size:13px;">South Africa bowled almost 1000 deliveries at New Zealand in the hosts' first-innings 489 in Hamilton, rendering them physically spent for day five.</span> © MICHAEL BRADLEY/AFP/Getty Images/Getty Images South Africa bowled almost 1000 deliveries at New Zealand in the hosts' first-innings 489 in Hamilton, rendering them physically spent for day five. Fatigue has begun to take hold of South Africa after a mammoth fourth-day Test fielding session against the Black Caps and six months of near-constant cricket in all three formats of the game.

The Proteas eventually bowled New Zealand out for a first-innings total of 489 in their Test decider in Hamilton on Tuesday before stuttering with the willow in the late session.

It took 162.1 overs, or almost 1000 deliveries, to remove the Kiwis as Kane Williamson knocked up a clinical 176, Jeet Raval a patient 88 and Colin de Grandhomme a speedy 57.

In response South Africa could only manage 80-5 by the penultimate stumps, with the typically reliable Hashim Amla and JP Duminy going cheaply.

They sit 95 runs behind New Zealand with just five wickets to spare and, despite having Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock at the crease, admit they're looking for a draw after reaching the point of physical exhaustion on Tuesday.

A final Test stalemate will suit the South Africans just fine, however, as they cling to a 1-0 series lead picked up in their second-Test walkover in Wellington.

The circumstances thus set the unyielding du Plessis up for another dead-batting masterclass, as seen from losing positions against Australia in 2012 and India in 2013 where the skipper hit centuries off 310 and 252 balls respectively.

"I don't think we bowled badly and the guys stuck at it but 162 overs is a long time to be in the field and it was a hard day, the players are fatigued," Proteas assistant coach Adrian Birrell told reporters.

"To bat on the back of that was always going to be difficult - unfortunately we didn't get a good start and, at 80-5, we've got a mountain to climb.

"We hope to draw on those good experiences we've had in the recent past so that we can fight it out."

Both sides have played constant cricket, both at home and away, since September last year - and with the Indian Premier League and Champions Trophy imminent, there appears no end in sight for many Kiwi and Proteas stars.

Speaking earlier in the Test, du Plessis admitted the thought of playing constant cricket for club and country until early August was daunting.

"It's going to personally be a big challenge," the 32-year-old, who plays for Rising Pune Supergiants in the IPL, said.

"How we get there is going to be a different challenge for every guy.

"That's something I'll drive every day with the team."

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