BLACKCAPS make solid progress

The BLACKCAPS withstood AB De Villiers’ resolute innings to play themselves into a strong position against South African after day three of the first Test in Centurion.

De Villiers fell three runs short of a century and Jacques Kallis made 62 as the Proteas finished the day on 280 for nine, 229 ahead of their visitors.

The Pretorian put on 67 for the fifth wicket with Kallis, who compiled an attritional innings off 159 balls, smashing eight boundaries as he tried to give his side a commanding lead.

But Scott Styris lulled him into a hook shot, which was mistimed and gratefully collected by Daniel Vettori on the boundary.

The BLACKCAPS set the platform for a satisfactory day with three wickets before lunch as the South African top-order failed to fire.

Resuming on four without loss, a deficit of 47, the hosts got off to the worst possible start when captain Graeme Smith was trapped lbw by Chris Martin for just seven in the fourth over of the day.

Boeta Dippenaar was quickly off the mark with two fours, but the eighth over saw Herschelle Gibbs (two) caught by Styris at second slip off James Franklin.

And Dippenaar made 16 in 12 overs before falling to Jacob Oram, taken low at first slip by Stephen Fleming.

Despite the fall of wickets, the home team had a lead of 12 at lunch.

But they could only move the score on another 11 runs after the interval before Ashwell Prince (11) was again enticed into a tame clip behind, off Franklin, which was pounced on by Brendon McCullum.

Kallis and De Villiers made progress until, shortly before tea, Styris claimed his vital wicket. Boucher came in and made 21 before falling to Kyle Mills, having shared in a 54-run stand.

Shaun Pollock made 10 from nine balls before he was trapped lbw from the 10th he faced, from Vettori.

De Villiers ploughed on, looking for his fourth Test century. But he was deprived that honours by first-innings centurion Oram, after a catch by Franklin.

Nathan Astle again showcased his value with the ninth wicket, McCullum scooping to catch Nicky Boje’s outside edge.

Boje made 31, and with tailenders Dale Steyn (five) and Makhaya Ntini (no score) left in, the BLACKCAPS will be optimistic of making good progress on day four.

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