Bavuma, De Kock earn vital lead
A seventh-wicket stand of 160 between Temba Bavuma and Quinton de Kock saved South Africa from the brink of disaster as they earned a first innings lead at the end of day two of their second test against New Zealand at the Basin Reserve in Wellington on Friday.
Day 2 interactive coverage
Having been reduced to 94-6 before lunch, Bavuma and De Kock launched an epic counter attack that helped the South Africans to 349-9 at the close of play with a crucial lead of 81 runs.
Starting the day on 24-2 with both openers, Dean Elgar and Stephen Cook, already in the sheds, South Africa got off to a horror start when Tim Southee bowled nightwatchmen, Kagiso Rabada, for nine in the second over of the day.
Hashim Amla (21), JP Duminy (16) and Faf du Plessis (22) all threw their wickets away in the morning session, getting out after making sound starts.
New Zealand's seamers, Tim Southee, Colin de Grandhomme and Neil Wagner doing all the damage in the morning session with the ball.
‘BAVUMA AND DE KOCK CASH IN’
As the pitch flattened out, Bavuma and De Kock cashed in, scoring briskly as the Black Caps opted for a short pitched approach to the batsmen.
De Kock and Bavuma were equal to the task, gleefully accepting the short stuff with an array of hooks, pulls, square cuts and upper cuts.
Reaching 218-6 at tea, De Kock was in a belligerent mood in the final session, taking a liking to Jeetan Patel by taking him for 28 runs in four overs after the break.
"The mindset I had going in was to somehow shift the pressure back on to them," said the left-hander.
"I didn't want to get bogged down and the only way I knew forward was to play my natural game, but obviously a little more aggressive than usual."
He looked as if he was bulletproof, until Jimmy Neesham lured him into a false stroke as De Kock chased a wide ball outside off, getting a nick through to BJ Watling behind the stumps. Reaching 91 off 118 balls, with 10 fours and three sixes - was a sublime knock in tough circumstances.
"The plan is to keep going at them to try and get as many runs as we can. A lead of 80 is very handy and any more runs we get from now is a bonus," De Kock added.
DAY 2 - HIGHLIGHTS
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Bavuma continued on with Vernon Philander, partnering for 46, before he top edged a hook off Wagner to Neesham at square leg. Another gutsy knock when his team needed it most, 89 of the most valuable runs as he provided the perfect foil to the flamboyant De Kock.
Keshav Maharaj (1) skied a Wagner delivery to Kane Williamson at mid-off before Morne Morkel and Philander frustrated the Black Caps for the final hour.
The final wicket stand remains unbroken on 47, with Morkel on 31 and Philander on 36. Morkel showed great application with the bat, playing a host of delightful upper cuts to the fence, while also showing toughness after being hit on the helmet by Southee.
Philander too batted superbly, showing great severity on the pull, latching onto anything short.
On the opening day the Kiwi's were asked to bat first and posted 268 all out, courtesy of a sublime maiden test hundred from Henry Nicholls. The young left-hander's positive intent saw him score 118, while JP Duminy also claimed career best bowling figures of 4-47 with his offspin.
South Africa's lead of 81 is invaluable, with Morkel and Philander's contributions at the death stretching the advantage significantly.
"After losing the toss and being put in we're pretty happy with the position we're in. There's lot of cricket left to play," reflected South African-born pace bowler Neil Wagner.
"It's obviously a lot easier now to bat on. It's flattened out quite a bit, obviously, that's quite good for us. Once the moisture in the morning goes away, after lunch it's a lot easier to bat on."
The pitch appears to be batter friendly, with batsmen getting themselves out more than anything else. Day three ought to be very interesting and the new ball will be key to South Africa's success in the outcome of the match.
Report Day 1
NEW ZEALAND: TWM Latham, JA Raval, KS Williamson (capt), NT Broom, HM Nicholls, JDS Neesham, BJ Watling (wk), C de Grandhomme, TG Southee, JS Patel, N Wagner
SOUTH AFRICA: SC Cook, D Elgar, HM Amla, JP Duminy, F du Plessis (capt), T Bavuma, Q de Kock (wk), VD Philander, KA Maharaj, M Morkel, K Rabada