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Tranquil Raval shows Test mettle for NZ

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 27/03/2017 Angelo Risso
Jeet Raval of New Zealand bats during day two of the Test match between New Zealand and South Africa at Seddon Park on March 26, 2017 in Hamilton, New Zealand. © Dave Rowland/Getty Images Jeet Raval of New Zealand bats during day two of the Test match between New Zealand and South Africa at Seddon Park on March 26, 2017 in Hamilton, New Zealand.

Three half-centuries in four Test innings against a lethal Proteas speed attack have convinced Jeet Raval of his worth to the Black Caps set-up.

The 28-year-old Kiwi opener eked out a patient 88 from 254 deliveries on day three of the third Test in Hamilton.

Despite being targeted by Vernon Philander, Morne Morkel and Keshav Maharaj, Raval negotiated 204 dot balls in a nerveless showing while deferring to a smouldering Kane Williamson who belted 148 not out.

The knock follows on from similar showings in the first two Tests in Dunedin and Wellington, where the left-handed Raval hit 52, 36 and 80.

Overall, the Indian-born batsman has notched five half-centuries in 12 Test innings - figures strong enough to reassure him of his value at international level.

"It's mentally challenging and tough at times, and when you do well it's rewarding because you know you had to work hard for your runs," Raval told reporters.

"You just have to be on your game for the whole time and deny them for as long as possible, hopefully they come to you and you score runs.

"It's all about batting in partnerships and making sure you work each bowler."

Yet despite the difficulty of facing a ruthless South African attack, Raval admitted he'd lose a few winks of sleep over his dismissal, just 12 runs short of a maiden ton.

Facing a late-afternoon Morne Morkel delivery, the 28-year-old inside-edged his attempted block to a diving Quinton de Kock behind the stumps.

With Raval gone at 273-2, the Black Caps proceeded to cheaply lose Neil Broom and Henry Nicholls and finish off the third day at 321-4.

"Disappointed not to kick on and get a big score, but it was nice to contribute towards a big partnership and move the game forward," Raval said.

"If we can get a couple hundred runs tomorrow and then put South Africa under pressure with the new ball, it'll put us right in the game."

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