Matt Floyd's Team of the Week: Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root and Ross Taylor make XI after centuries
Four Black Caps make the grade ahead of series decider
By Matt Floyd - @mattkfloyd
Last Updated: 08/03/18 1:37pm
This is a seriously strong eleven. The top seven has an intimidating look to it, there’s a rapid left-arm quick to knock over opponents’ top-orders and tail, plus two good spin options too.
Zimbabwe seamer Brian Vitori was in the original side after his last-over heroics against Afghanistan but as he's been banned for an illegal action I've drafted in Pakistan's Umar Gul is a late replacement.
JONNY BAIRSTOW (England) - wicketkeeper
His brutal 138 in Dunedin should have been enough to see England to a series victory but those down the order wasted his good work. If Alex Hales is to get back in to the one-day side any time soon it won't be at the expense of Bairstow.
AIDEN MARKRAM (South Africa)
His second innings 143 in Durban might just be the knock that signals he has truly arrived at Test level. Three hundreds in his first seven Tests is an excellent return and on this occasion he stood up to an in-form attack in testing conditions while quality players around him weren't able to.
KANE WILLIAMSON (New Zealand) - captain
A century in Wellington, where he couldn't quite get his team over the line, was followed up with a valuable contribution in Dunedin after both the Kiwi openers went for ducks. New Zealand are half the side without him.
JOE ROOT (England)
Provided an excellent foil for Bairstow at the University Oval and then had to watch helplessly from the other end as his next partners threw their wickets away. Even for someone of Root's undoubted class it must have been a relief to get to three figures after a succession of fifties.
ROSS TAYLOR (New Zealand)
Missed badly in Wellington, he returned to haunt England with a second century in three games and this innings must've been one of his best. When Taylor gets on a roll he can dismantle the best attacks in the world and he looked in that kind of a mood as he belted England's seamers out of the ground towards the end of the chase.
TOM LATHAM (New Zealand)
Should've been caught and bowled by Moeen Ali early on but took advantage of his luck to provide Taylor with the support he needed to win the game. He has played a crucial role in the two games New Zealand have won.
MITCHELL MARSH (Australia)
Marsh seems to have made significant strides with the bat recently and his important 96 in the first innings at Kingsmead was further evidence of that. Also took the prize wicket of Markram just as the Proteas were threatening to get uncomfortably close to their target. After that they collapsed quickly.
MITCHELL STARC (Australia)
There were some very good fast bowlers on show in Durban but Starc was a cut above the rest. With the new ball he looks a constant threat and if the tail are exposed to him while there is some reverse swing on offer, it is basically innings over. South Africa's batsmen have a major challenge on their hands for the rest of the series.
KESHAV MAHARAJ (South Africa)
Most would've expected one of the Proteas' three quicks to have led the line for the home side but in the end it was Maharaj, who finished just one short of a first Test 10-wicket haul. His record after 17 games suggests he is the best South African Test spinner for some time.
UMAR GUL (Multan Sultans)
Remember him?? Gul hasn't played International cricket since 2016 and wasn't in great form heading in to the PSL after taking just one wicket in his last seven domestic games. It was quite a surprise then when he ripped through the Quetta Gladiators with 6-24!
ISH SODHI (New Zealand)
The fact that England didn't make close to 400 in the fourth ODI was largely down to Sodhi who took out Buttler, Stokes & Ali in the space of 12 deliveries. Another New Zealand player who was probably unlucky to not gain an IPL contract.
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