Kiwis look to Bond for attacking edge against SA

Published: Sunday, October 16, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Wellington:New Zealand's cricket team left for South Africa, pointing to speedster Shane Bond as a key to combatting the hosts' batting firepower in the five-match one-day series.

Bond and Daniel Vettori, a left arm spinner who is currently playing for the World XI against Australia, will be key to containing the strong South African batting line-up, all rounder Jacob Oram said on Monday.

After exploding onto the international scene against Australia in 2001-02, Bond was out of international cricket after suffering a stress fracture of his spine in 2003 until making a promising return on the recent tour to Zimbabwe.

Despite injury problems Bond has captured 62 one day wickets at an average of 17.16 in his short career.

"With Bondy coming back it gives us a weapon we really haven't had since the World Cup," Oram said.

"It's suddenly a chance for us to attack and keep attacking. Throw Dan in there and it's 20 overs of high-quality, world class bowling."

A key goal for the New Zealanders in the series -- no Test matches will be played on the short tour -- will be containing captain Graeme Smith, fellow opener Hershelle Gibbs and Jacques Kallis at the top of the South African batting order.

"Those three are their big guns that we've got to try and target," Oram said.

The last time the two met in a one day series in New Zealand last year, the home side won 5-1 but Oram expects the next series to be tougher.

"It was our first series win, it was pretty comprehensive, but it was also on our turf and we were playing very well at that stage. We have to prove ourselves over there now."

The tri-series final victory over India in Zimbabwe last month gives the tourists a shot of confidence ahead of the South African series.

Like Bond, Oram returned from a back injury in Zimbabwe but struggled to regain his form following his long lay-off since January.

"It was always going to be tough in Zimbabwe coming back after eight months on the sidelines. I maybe shot myself in the foot thinking I could go over there and just get back on the horse.

"My goals were a lot higher than they should have been, and subsequently I got annoyed with myself. Looking back it was very good for me and a little bit of a turning point in my mental game."

New Zealand play warm-up matches against South Africa A on Friday and Sunday and a Twenty20 match against the hosts on October 21. The one day series opens in Bloemfontein on October 23.

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