South Africa's first tour of New Zealand for 31 years was either a limited success or a partial failure, depending on how it was viewed. They were one of five Test teams to visit during the centenary of New Zealand cricket. With the 1996 World Cup in mind, Hansie Cronje's party included a number of one-day specialists, but South Africa fared poorly in the quadrangular limited-overs tournament, losing to Australia and the hosts, and failing to reach the final. This placed additional pressure on them to maintain the superiority established over New Zealand on their recent tour of South Africa in the one-off Centenary Test, the official highlight of New Zealand's season. With Cronje leading from the front, victory at Eden Park was achieved on a remarkable last day. Cronje, who made his fifth Test century in his 21st Test, continued to progress as a captain. He was building on foundations laid by his predecessor, Kepler Wessels, but where Wessels's instincts might have urged caution, Cronje opted for adventure.
The tour revealed little that was not previously known about the players. South Africa's strength remained the quality of their fast and medium-pace bowling, particularly from Fanie de Villiers and Craig Matthews, but the batting was still brittle and prone to sudden collapse. The notable exception was Gary Kirsten, who enhanced his reputation as an opener. Kirsten reached 50 in four of his six innings, though a Test century still eluded him. Daryll Cullinan, too, provided glimpses of his rare talent with an intelligent one-day 65 against India and a cultured 96 in the Test. These innings were all the more impressive after a nightmare start, when he was tormented and then dismissed for nought by Shane Warne a one-day international in Wellington.
W. J. Cronje (Orange Free State) (captain), D. J. Callaghan (Eastern Province), D. J. Cullinan (Border), P. S. De Villiers (Northern Transvaal), A. A. Donald (Orange Free State), C. E. Eksteen (Transvaal), A. C. Hudson (Natal), S. D. Jack (Transvaal), G. Kirsten (Western Province), B. M. McMillan (Western Province), C. R. Matthews (Western Province), J. N. Rhodes (Natal), D. J. Richardson (Eastern Province), M. J. R. Rindel (Northern Transvaal), E. O. Simons (Western Province), R. P. Snell (Transvaal), P. J. R. Steyn (Orange Free State), P. L. Symcox (Natal).
Manager: C. Docrat. Coach: R. A. Woolmer.
Test match - Played 1: Won 1.
First-class matches - Played 2: Won 2.
Wins - New Zealand, New Zealand Academy XI.
One-day internationals - Played 3: Won 1, Lost 2. Win - India. Losses - Australia, New Zealand.
Other non-first-class match - Tied v Wellington.
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