Blackcaps v South Africa: NZ captain Tim Southee plays down intense confrontation with fast-bowler Neil Wagner in test victory

Blackcaps skipper Tim Southee has played down any bad blood with one of his own teammates during the historic second-test victory over South Africa at Hamilton.

On the third day, as the Proteas batters extended their first-innings lead over the home side, Southee made fast-bowler Neil Wagner wait until after lunch, before tossing him the ball, a delay that only seemed to ratchet up the building frustration.

In his first over, he enticed South African Zubayr Hamza into a mistimed hook that skied to fielder Will Young near the boundary, breaking a pesky 65-run partnership.

Neil Wagner and Tim Southee in action during the test win over South Africa.
Neil Wagner and Tim Southee in action during the test win over South Africa. Photo credit: Photosport

Wagner's celebration saw him press his finger to his lips, as if to silence his opponents... or teammates... or critics... or his captain. The exact meaning was not apparent, but Southee spent several moments calming his bowler, before allowing him to continue his spell.

"Obviously, Neil's a very passionate man," explained the captain. "We all love him to bits and what he brings to the side, but I was just trying to channel his energy into the right place.

"He's done a tremendous job for us and he was probably frustrated it took so long to come to the bowling crease. I was just trying to make sure we channeled his energy into what we needed at the time.

"He came on and took that wicket, and that was a big part in the game.

"I don't know what the 'shush' was about, but we know Neil's a passionate guy who wears his heart on his sleeve."

Pretoria-born Wagner, 37, probably wasn't the only Blackcaps seamer frustrated with how the contest transpired, after selectors made the decision to return to a fourprong attack, dropping frontline spinner Mitch Santner.

The Proteas were widely ridiculed for including two spin-bowlers in their line-up, but seemed to pick conditions better than the home side, with Dane Piedt claiming eight wickets across the two innings.

While debutant Will O'Rourke showed his ability with nine scalps, including 5/34 in the second innings, New Zealand's other seamers struggled to break through, accounting for just five wickets among them.

"I feel I've bowled worse and got more wickets, but that's the way the game goes at times," reflected Southee. "The currency you deal in, as bowlers, is wickets and you always want more.

"I guess it was a poor return this series, but we've got 10 days or two weeks until the next test starts, and I'll be working hard to finish the summer strong."

New Zealand now face Australia in a three-match Twenty20 series, before returning to the five-day format at Wellington's Basin Reserve on February 29.

Join Newshub at 7pm Wednesday for the opening Blackcaps v Australia T20