Rain ruins final day, match drawn
The first test between New Zealand and South Africa at the University Oval in Dunedin ended in a dour stalemate and was abandoned early on Sunday due to extensive showers with South Africa stranded on 224 for six in their second innings.
Full Scorecard: NZ v SA
Interactive coverage Day 5
The elements made play impossible on the fifth and final day and the umpires decided shortly before 3am CAT (SA, GMT+2) that there is no chance of play after extensive showers that saw a small pool forming around the covers.
South Africa enjoyed an overall lead of 191 runs and the match was tantalisingly poised. A quick 70 runs in the morning session and 60 overs of excellent fast bowling by Kagiso Rabada and Vernon Philander and slow bowling by Keshav Maharaj in the afternoon-sessions would have been mouth-watering prospects.
When the match is reviewed, South Africa will celebrate the consistent excellence of Dean Elgar, who continued the form which saw him receive the accolade as player of the series against Sri Lanka.
He struck a seventh test century in the first innings, and compiled a defiant 89 in 413 minutes in the second innings. He was named man of the match for his Herculean efforts.
Du Plessis completed a composed 52 in the first innings. He combined attractive offensive play and fine defensive work in the second to frustrate the Black Caps. Du Plessis finished unbeaten on 56, with 10 fours.
Both captains claimed to have gained a psychological edge in the post-match conference.
Despite New Zealand suffering the loss of batsman Ross Taylor for the second test, captain Kane Williamson felt buoyed by the his side being able to establish a 33-run first innings lead.
"To put partnerships together against the very good attack they have was a good effort," he said after play was abandoned, leaving South Africa on 224 for six in their second innings.
ALWAYS WANT MORE
"You always want more, which never goes away no matter how many you get, but it was nice to get a little lead going into that second innings."
Taylor, who suffered a calf tear early in his innings, has been replaced by debutant Neil Broom for the second test which starts in Wellington on Thursday.
Pace bowler Matt Henry has also been added to the squad with Trent Boult nursing a leg injury.
Du Plessis felt the rain had ruined a potential victory, with the Proteas set to capitalise on New Zealand's injury woes.
"When a test match finishes on a day like today it's very frustrating," he said.
"If today was a full day of cricket, we felt with (New Zealand) one seamer down and one of their main batters out of the team we fancied our chances. It's very disappointing from that point of view.
"We were 190 ahead on a wicket that was spinning quite a bit, purely on the match position if we got 50-60 more runs, a 250 lead and set them that in 50-60 overs, we'd fancy our chances."
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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