Kane, Boult sparkle as SA collapse
South Africa crumbled to 308 after a late-order collapse against an inspired New Zealand attack spearheaded by Trent Boult and the lion-hearted Neil Wagner. Kane Williamson then set the tone for the New Zealand reply with a superb undefeated 78 and powered the hosts to 177 for three at the close on the second day of the first test at the University Oval in Dunedin on Thursday.
Interactive coverage Day 2
South Africa still enjoy a first-innings cushion of 131 runs.
Despite the fact that the day possibly belonged to the Black Caps, the match is still tantalisingly poised and a couple of quick wickets by South Africa could still ensure a slight first-innings cushion.
The visitors resumed on 229 for four on Thursday but lost their final six wickets for the addition of only 79 runs against a disciplined attack, led in exemplary fashion by Boult and Wagner. Boult finished with 4-64 while Wagner, who bowled ten consecutive overs in a fiery spell in the morning session, captured 3-88.
Williamson and Jeet Raval fashioned a record partnership of 102 for the second wicket after Vernon Philander had Tom Latham caught behind for 10.
Raval and Williamson benefited from a slightly mediocre bowling performance by South Africa on a flat track.
South Africa produced too many so-called boundary balls and allowed Raval to strike 52 off 106 balls with six fours.
Philander was the exception. He took 1-37. His seam presentation was excellent and he and Morne Morkel were able to utilise reverse swing in the last hour to genuinely test the hosts.
Keshav Maharaj ended with 2-57 in 16 overs.
Williamson finished on 78, and his innings was sprinkled with excellent fours as he reached the boundary ropes on 11 occasions while facing 146 balls.
HIGHLIGHTS DAY 2
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South African bowling coach Charl Langeveldt said Williamson's wicket was their chief concern.
"We have to try and contain Kane Williamson, definitely he's the key. I'm not sure if Ross Taylor is going to come back," Langeveldt said while conceding Williamson was winning the battle with South Africa's bowling spearhead Vernon Philander.
"I think Kane's on top at the moment but Vernon's a strong character and he will come back."
Earlier, Dean Elgar, on 128, and Temba Bavuma, on 38, resumed the South African score on 229 for four.
Elgar was caught behind when he attempted a pull shot off a superb delivery by Wagner that bounced and induced the edge. His career-best 140 came off 299 balls in 413 minutes of excellence. He struck 24 fours and anchored the innings while also producing a vast array of attacking shots.
Quinton de Kock did not last, as Jeetan Patel, who performed admirably, had him caught at point by Wagner. The wicketkeeper/batsman attempted a half-drive off a delivery that was too short for that treatment. He made 10.
Bavuma moved over to the off-side to try and open up the leg-side and had a waft at Boult, which hastened his exit, caught behind for a stylish 64 after facing 164 balls and striking 10 fours.
Boult showed how street-smart he is as left-arm swing bowler. He set up the demise of Maharaj, luring him into a fatal pull on five.
He wrapped up the innings when he bowled Philander with a ball that truck back appreciably for 21.
In between, Patel also bowled Kagiso Rabada with an in-ducker for 4.
It was an unrelenting, composed and high-octane effort by New Zealand, who hardly ever strayed and operated with self-belief.
Williamson produced a superb innings full of excellent shots after Philander had looked threatening early on with his customary accuracy and slight nip both ways.
He changed his angle of attack and accounted for Latham from around the wicket.
Maharaj created drift and threatened occasionally. He had Raval caught at short mid-wicket by Elgar for 52.
But unfortunately, Maharaj, like Rabada and Morkel in his earlier spells, both too many boundary deliveries and could not exert consistent pressure to force the Black Caps into enough costly and fatal errors.
Ross Taylor survived a late barrage of short balls from Morne Morkel, who hit him against the helmet.
Shortly afterwards, the experienced right-handed batsman suffered a calf injury and limped off the field when on eight.
Boult said they would not know until Friday if Taylor could resume playing, but the prospects were not good.
"It's a shame to see him limp off like that. He's big player for us," Boult said.
"He's disappointed as we could all understand but the way he walked off it doesn't look too good."
Henry Nicholls played some excellent square shots before he was the victim of one of the most sensational catches you could hope to see on a cricket field.
Hashim Amla pulled off the catch at slip off the left-handed Nicholls when the latter nicked the first delivery of a new spell by Maharaj. He moved low and smartly to his left to complete the breath-taking reflex catch and Nicholls was gone for 12.
Rabada ended with 0-46 from 13 overs, while Morkel’s 10 overs cost 26 runs.
Report Day 1
NEW ZEALAND: TWM Latham, JA Raval, KS Williamson (capt), LRPL Taylor, HM Nicholls, JDS Neesham, BJ Watling (wk), MJ Santner, N Wagner, JS Patel, TA Boult
SOUTH AFRICA: SC Cook, D Elgar, HM Amla, F du Plessis (capt), JP Duminy, T Bavuma, Q de Kock (wk), VD Philander, KA Maharaj, M Morkel, K Rabada