Wellington: New Zealand's batsmen must ensure they build on their starts if they are to stand any chance of winning the third and final Test against South Africa, assistant coach Trent Woodhill has said.
New Zealand conceded a 199-run first innings lead to the Proteas after they were bowled out for 275 after tea on the fourth day, which Graeme Smith and Alviro Petersen then extended.
Petersen was on 38 and Smith on 34 as South Africa closed the day at 75 without loss, an overall lead of 274, and likely to set the hosts a victory target of more than 300 to win the match and tie the series on Tuesday.
Doug Bracewell of New Zealand is bowled by Vernon Philander of South Africa during day four of the Third Test. (Getty Images)
New Zealand, who had five of the top seven batsmen pass 30 before being dismissed, need to get at least two past 80 to give themselves any chance of victory, Woodhill said. Number six Dean Brownlie also made 29 in their first innings.
"There is no underestimating their [South Africa's] bowling attack, but six of the top seven all made sufficient starts to make sure at least two players went on and got 80 plus and one of them went 100 plus and we didn't do that," Woodhill told reporters.
"It's easy to talk up a good bowling attack but the bottom line is guys got in and guys had form and they didn't carry on with that and that's frustrating.
"We have to make sure that when two blokes get in tomorrow they make a big one and not let a big score go."
The pattern of settling in through the initial phase before throwing wickets away had been evident throughout the series and Woodhill said it had been discussed with the players.
"We talk through what happened with the dismissals and where the wickets fell in clumps and make sure we recognise those things so that it doesn't happen again," Woodhill said.
Opening batsman Daniel Flynn, who grafted his way to 45 before he was one of Vernon Philander's six victims, said the match situation would depend on how they approached any possible run chase, but the lesson about building a big innings was crucial if they had any chance of accomplishing it.
"We'll have to wait and see where they go in the morning with the declaration, we have to go out there and play some positive cricket," Flynn said.
"Guys will go out and play their natural games and we'll just have to take it session by session ... hopefully guys can kick on from the starts we got in the first innings and someone can make a big hundred."