South Africa's stand-in captain Neil Brand's squad is "desperate" to produce their fine performance in the Hamilton Test against New Zealand and the skipper believes his team is better than what their 281-run loss in Mount Maunganui shows.
Proteas will head into the second Test knowing that they may become the first South African team to lose a Test series to New Zealand.
"I don't think we are miles off. I said to the boys afterwards I think we were good for about 65 per cent of the game. Obviously, we have to learn pretty quickly at this level and it's something we are desperate to do and to put it right," Brand, South Africa's stand-in captain was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
Brand cited South Africa's batting as their main concern since they were removed for 162 and 247, with only David Bedingham reaching 50. The top three are really important to Brand.
"We have to do the right things for longer and myself, personally, I have to find a way to get through the new ball which has been tricky in these conditions. The wickets look like they are getting better for batting the longer you can hang out there. So, it's just about keeping our confidence high and making sure we keep believing in ourselves," he said.
Zubayr Hamza, Keegan Petersen, and Bedingham all reached double figures in both innings and, given their Test experience, are likely to form the backbone of South Africa's attempts. Bedingham, in particular, enters the series with high hopes following his debut against India.
"We want him to push on and get a big score for us," Brand said.
The first clash between the experienced side and the raw talent, saw the experienced side pass with flying colours on Day 4.
South Africa's assault is looking for methods to be more incisive after giving up 511 runs in the first innings and 179 in 43 overs in the second. They had New Zealand in early danger on both occasions, going 39 for 2 and 10 for 1, but were unable to capitalise. It didn't help that they missed chances against Kane Williamson and Rachin Ravindra, who went on to score 118 and 240, respectively, but Brand is hopeful that they can find more methods to take wickets with the older ball.
"We were really good with the new ball in both innings. I understand this wicket might be a bit different but we just want a bit more options from over 20 through to the [second] new ball so we can dismantle that middle order. We've been building pressure but we haven't found ways to strike with the old ball," Brand said.
Despite how difficult it has been, Brand believes some of them will accept it.
"The Test match was really tough. On day three I was pretty tired. Dane Piedt said Hashim Amla told him that every day feels like a (whole) Test match when you are playing Test cricket. But I have enjoyed every moment of it. I have learnt a lot about myself as a person and I really love being in this environment so hopefully I can put in a few good performances," he said.
The second Test of the series between South Africa and New Zealand will be played from February 13 to 17 in Hamilton. (ANI)