Hesson respects SA seam attack

New Zealand

New Zealand coach Mike Hesson believes that the way the Black Caps handle the Proteas pace attack will be critical to the outcome of the two Test series between the nations.

The variety on offer in the Proteas pace arsenal means New Zealand will need to be at their best, if they want to leave South Africa with anything.

Speaking in Durban, ahead of the first Test at Kingsmead, Hesson said: "From a seam bowling point of view, they are strong, they have got a lot of variety,

"They have some bounce bowlers, some good swing bowlers, some seam bowlers so that will provide it's own challenges."

The Black Caps are fresh off the back of a 2-0 series win in Zimbabwe but despite spending a considerable time batting over the course of the two Tests, the Kiwi batsmen were never really tested by the hosts largely medium-paced attack which failed to extract the kind of pace, bounce and movement expected from the Proteas.

South Africa used the recent 'A' series in Zimbabwe and Australia to work on the form and fitness of Vernon Philander, Hesson noted: "Vernon has played a lot of cricket recently so he has got loads of overs under his belt.

"He is a high quality bowler. We saw him at his best a few years ago. He hits lovely lengths and we know he is going to provide a challenge there, most likely with the new ball."

New Zealand did not face anything that resembled the likes of Kagiso Rabada and Dale Steyn in Zimbabwe: "In terms of Kagiso Rabada, he has got pace, bounce and skill and he is fresh so he keeps running in at you hard. He is someone we are going to have to spend a bit of time on. We know he is a quality bowler. And then when you've got Dale Steyn at the other end, there is no let off."

While Hesson was grateful for the time in the middle for his batsman in Zim, he conceded the pitches in South Africa will not have the same tame nature: "We recognise that the surfaces there (Zimbabwe) are significantly different than they are here,

The wickets are something of an unknown factor with the hosts enduring a dry winter, we could see pitches that take some turn.

Hesson indicated that they would decide on combinations after inspecting the wicket: "It depends how dry the wicket is. If we think it's going to turn – it turned during the one-dayers last year – we might play two spinners,

"We wouldn't be afraid playing two spinners, if we felt that it was going to be dry and turn."

New Zealand will be hunting their first series win over South Africa since 1931 when the teams lock horns this August.