Day Three, 2nd ANZ Test, Basin Reserve, Wellington
South Africa picked up a 1-0 lead in the ANZ test series, after a dominant performance on day three at the Basin reserve.
After claiming a 91 run first-innings lead, Morne Morkel and Keshav Maharaj combined to rip through the BLACKCAPS batting line-up in the second innings. Dismissed for 171, the BLACKCAPS finished with a lead of 80, well below what would be required.
Wickets to Tim Southee and Neil Wagner were evidence that the home side did what they could to make it tough, but an unbeaten 38 from Hashim Amla would guide South Africa to a comfortable victory.
A disappointing day and result for the BLACKCAPS, who will look to regroup and tie the series come the third Test in Hamilton.
Morkel followed up his batting effort with a menacing spell of fast bowling, tearing through the BLACKCAPS top order. Tom Latham, Kane Williamson and Neil Broom were all drawn into edging through to the cordon, quickly reducing the BLACKCAPS to 64-3. With a 27 run first-innings deficit still lingering, South Africa had the BLACKCAPS under immense pressure.
Wickets would continue to tumble for the BLACKCAPS, but the bright light, amongst considerable darkness, would be opener Jeet Raval. Notching his fourth Test half-century in his still young career, Raval fought valiantly to keep the South Africa attack at bay. The 28-year-old would eventually be ousted on 80, but his contribution was comfortably the most considerable from the home side’s batsmen.
Kesha Maharaj has enjoyed his tour to New Zealand so far. After a strong showing in Dunedin, Maharaj backed up that effort with career best figures on day three at the Basin. Deceiving them with flight, the 27-year-old outfoxed and outplayed the BLACKCAPS batsmen and rampaged his way to 6-40. It played a significant role in consigning the BLACKCAPS to a loss.
Bowled out for 171 in the second innings, the BLACKCAPS finished with just an 80 run lead. As hard as the BLACKCAPS would fight, it was a target that South Africa would always feel supremely confident in chasing down. Neil Wagner and Tim Southee nabbed a wicket apiece, but were powerless to stop South Africa from a comfortable victory.
Day Two, 2nd ANZ Test, Basin Reserve, Wellington
The ebb and flow of the ANZ Test series continued on Saint Patrick's Day (day two) at the Basin Reserve, with South Africa overcoming a torrid opening session to build an 81 first-innings lead so far.
The BLACKCAPS reduced South Africa to 94-6 early on, but Temba Bavuma and Quinton de Kock revived the visitors' innings with a stubborn seventh wicket stand. Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel then saw out the remaining overs until stumps and, unless they declare, will resume on day three to extend their lead.
The BLACKCAPS will be eager to nab the 10th wicket and get stuck into their second batting effort as quickly as possible.
It took 11 balls for Tim Southee to dismiss night-watchman Kagiso Rabada, with an early insuring delivery rattling the fast bowler's stumps. Things got even better when Wagner came on and dismissed Duminy for the third straight time and the BLACKCAPS had two wickets in the opening hour - exactly what the doctor ordered.
Making it count
If the opening session didn't already belong to the BLACKCAPS, it certainly did after a double strike to Colin de Grandhomme just before lunch. The accurate medium-pacer was aided by a juggling catch from Henry Nicholls at mid-wicket to dismiss Hashim Amla, before an inside edge from Faf du Plessis was sharply caught by BJ Watling behind the stumps. Three wickets for de Grandhomme in the innings, four for the BLACKCAPS in the session and South Africa were 104-6 at lunch.
South Africa return the favour
After Henry Nicholls and BJ Watling helped scrap the BLACKCAPS to 268 yesterday, South Africa showed they too weren't willing to roll over easily. Temba Bavuma and Quinton de Kock combined for 160 runs for the seventh wicket, with the former showing his typical aggressive approach. Up came 200 for South Africa and with it, the momentum.
A wicketless second session had BLACKCAPS fans sitting a little uncomfortably on the Basin Reserve bank and a de Kock century looked imminent. Jimmy Neesham would help ease the home crowds' tension and scupper a de Kock ton, finding the 24-year-old's edge on 91, with BJ Watling taking a safe catch. While the partnership had South Africa within 14 runs of a lead, the BLACKCAPS now had the opportunity to bowl to the visitors' bowling attack.
Building a lead
A Wagner short ball got rid of Bavuma for 89, but the South Africa tail punished the BLACKCAPS bowlers late in the innings, accumulating a handy 81 run lead. Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel have put on 47 for the final wicket so far and continued to frustrate the BLACKCAPS. At this stage: advantage South Africa.
A maiden Test century by Henry Nicholls helped the BLACKCAPS post 268 after being asked to bat first on the opening day of the second ANZ Test in Wellington.
The 25-year-old walked out to a spicy Basin Reserve wicket with his side in early trouble at 21-3 and proceeded to plunder 15 boundaries in a commanding 118.
Nicholls shared a record fifth wicket partnership against South Africa of 116 with keeper BJ Watling (34 off 132), before both players perished to the spin of JP Duminy (4-47).
Tim Southee and Colin de Grandhomme then removed the South African openers in the remaining seven overs to ave the visitors 24-2 at stumps.
Turn it up Welly!
You can’t beat Wellington on a good day and when you chuck Test cricket at the Basin in the mix, you’ve got yourself a pretty good looking Thursday. No clouds (surprisingly) and no wind (more surprisingly) had the capital looking marvellous and enticed a good crowd to come enjoy day one of the second ANZ Test. Sunscreen was even required.
A terrbile tosser
Kane Williamson is good at a lot of things but flipping a coin isn’t one of them. The BLACKCAPS captain had lost his last six tosses in a row against South Africa and made it seven when Faf du Plessis correctly called heads on Thursday morning. The visitors didn’t hesitate in opting to bowl first, with the first session traditionally tricky to navigate. That tradition would be upheld…
Doing it tough
Vernon Philander, Morne Morkel and Kagiso Rabada are threatening on any surface, but throw in a little assistance on a green tinged Basin and the BLACKCAPS batsmen knew they were in for a challenge. Tom Latham, Kane Williamson and Neil Broom all fell to ‘jaffas’ (great deliveries), to leave the home side in a precarious position at 21-3.
Jeet Raval and Henry Nicholls came back after the first drinks break with a big job to do. While the 52 they put on for the fourth wicket hardly wows, it did blunt South Africa’s momentum and take some zip out of the new ball. They almost got through until lunch as well, only for Maharaja to find the edge of Raval (36) the over before the break.
Despite the dismissal of Jimmy Neesham for 15 early on, the second session would be a bright one for the BLACKCAPS. Nicholls and BJ Watling showed tremendous character during their 116 run sixth wicket stand - a New Zealand record against South Africa. While Nicholls advanced and played with positive intent, patience was the feature of Watling’s innings. The nuggety keeper 132 balls for his 34, but importantly stayed by Nicholls side to help assure the BLACKCAPS a respectable first-innings total.
The shining light, as SKY commentator Ian Smith so aptly described Nicholls. Coming in under pressure at 21-3 in just his 13th Test, Nicholls produced the best knock of his young career, spurring the BLACKCAPS back into the contest. Proactive rather than passive, Nicholls applied some pressure of his own on the South Africa attack, delivering classical cover-drives and powerful sweeps to great effect.
Part-time off-spinner JP Duminy was an unlikely threat on day one, taking figures of 4-47 to limit the good work the BLACKCAPS had done to wrestle their way back. On a deck which didn't offer much sideways movement, Duminy's drift proved problematic, with the 32-year-old taking the final wicket of Neil Wagner and ending the BLACKCAPS innings after 79.3 overs.
A couple of late treats
With seven overs left in the day to have a crack at South Africa, Tim Southee and Colin de Grandhomme made the most of the opportunity and had the BLACKCAPS heading back to the shed with plenty to smile about. Neesham took a catch off each of the aforementioned names in the slips, dismissing openers Stephen Cook and Dean Elgar. Parity on day one.