Latham's sharp catching rubs off on batting form

Faf du Plessis was fed a spoonful of his own medicine when he fell to a superb catch - the likes of which he would have been proud of taking himself - by Tom Latham.

Du Plessis had premeditated a paddle sweep against Mitchell Santner, who held his length back a touch. The South African captain could not get to the pitch of the ball, and instead of playing it along the ground, lobbed it to the right of Latham at short leg. Almost all short-leg catchers begin to take evasive action when a batsman shapes up like du Plessis did, but Latham moved to his right instead and snatched it one-handed.

"It was a good catch, good athleticism, and reading the game really well," Neil McKenzie, South Africa's batting coach said after the second day's play. "That's one of Faf's go-to shots, and if you get out in your game plan, or with a shot that you play that gives you a lot of runs, you've got to pack up and wait for the next innings. Latham took some good catches, and it looked like it sparked something and he batted beautifully in the late evening. We'd like to see him get 40 and out."

Later on in South Africa's innings, Latham took a low catch with both hands at second slip to dismiss Vernon Philander. And after the visitors were all out, Latham made his highest score of the series, not out on 42 at stumps. After struggling in the first two Tests - 24 runs in three innings and dropped chances in Dunedin and Wellington - Latham has regained confidence, and it is showing.

"Tom has worked really hard. He had quite a few sessions working on some specific things and got some confidence even with his fielding," Shane Jurgensen, New Zealand's bowling coach said. "His slip catching was excellent. He was aggressive and vocal, and I think he took that into his batting today. Those things are important in international cricket. He's walked into the dressing room tonight after a great partnership and there was a lot of support for him."