Vice captain says New Zealand batsmen need to contribute

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CENTURION, South Africa, Nov 14 (Reuters) New Zealand's batsmen will have to pull their weight if the Black Caps are to save the series against South Africa in the second and final test starting on Friday, vice captain Brendon McCullum said.

South Africa cruised to victory by 358 runs in the first test in Johannesburg after New Zealand were bowled out for 118 and 172, and McCullum said on Wednesday the team's batting woes were the focus of attention before the second test in Centurion.

''It all comes down to the batting, we didn't give the bowlers any rest after we were bowled out in 42 overs in the first innings,'' the wicketkeeper-batsman told reporters.

''The batsmen need to gel as a unit and give the bowlers enough rest because they've shown they are capable of knocking over the South Africans.'' South Africa batted first in Johannesburg and made just 226 in their first innings, but then scored 422 for three declared to build on their first-innings lead.

McCullum said the Kiwis were also working on rising above the disappointments of the first test mentally.

''We've had a couple of days to digest what was a very embarrassing loss for us. We need to get back up, work out what went wrong and rectify whatever obstacles there are,'' he said.

''South Africa are a very good side, there's no shirking it, and we need to produce a more hardened performance.'' All-rounder Jacob Oram (hamstring strain) and batsman Stephen Fleming (bruised forearm) both batted in the nets on Wednesday after sustaining injuries in the first test.

New Zealand manager Lindsay Crocker said their availability for the second test would be decided in the next few days.

Reuters SSC RN1738

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