For a man who went wicketless yesterday, Daniel Vettori sure created plenty of chatter.
The former skipper, playing his 110th test for New Zealand, wheeled down 42 overs for 98 as his lean South African summer continued. This series, Vettori has two wickets at 122.5, from 110 overs.
Debate raged, on Cricinfo and between former internationals Ian Smith and Craig McMillan in the commentary box. Should Vettori play as a specialist batsman at No 6, enabling four other frontline bowlers?
Is he justifying his spot as an all-rounder? Should he revert to limited overs cricket, where his bowling has been more effective?
Now a stock bowler and struggling to generate turn on lifeless pitches, Vettori freely acknowledges his role as captain Ross Taylor's run-saver while the pacemen attack.
In six tests this summer, Vettori averages 36 with the bat and has 13 wickets at 38. His eight-wicket haul in Bulawayo in November provided the bulk of those.
Vettori, 33, admitted last week he was finding it difficult to back up from test to test after the stresses on his body from a solid 15 years of international cricket.
Now on 357 test wickets, Vettori is crawling towards Richard Hadlee's New Zealand record of 431 but how long before he gets there as he reassesses his career?
He says he is only looking as far as next year's tour of England, by which time 14 more New Zealand tests will have been played.
South African centurymaker Alviro Petersen said they had a careful plan against Vettori.
"He's a world class bowler and his main role is to tie up an end. We don't want to give him wickets because we know he's a big bowler for them. We just tried to score off any bad balls he bowls; he doesn't bowl a lot.
"A few did turn but I don't think the wicket is a turning wicket. He's a wily old customer and he'll try and bowl straight, try and get you lbw. If you can combat that, then you're fine."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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