Honours even in SA-NZ Dunedin Test


DUNEDIN — The first Test between South Africa and New Zealand continued to smoulder with exciting possibilities as the hosts ended the second day on 243 for nine at the University Oval in Dunedin yesterday.

Defending just 238, South Africa managed to suppress the determined New Zealand’s batsmen’s push for a sizeable first-innings lead with a wonderfully disciplined and skilful display of bowling. A relentless line just outside off stump would give birth to a host of chances and there was also a controlled spell of leg-spin by Imran Tahir and good catching behind the wicket to complete a fine day for the tourists.

New Zealand’s last two batsmen — Trent Boult and Chris Martin — are at the crease and, with the lead just five runs, there is nothing to separate the two teams heading for the halfway mark.

The Black Caps had resumed after tea on 144 for five and Daniel Vettori and Kruger van Wyk, playing in his first Test, gave little away as they added 53 for the sixth wicket.

The ball was 68 overs old and nothing much seemed to be happening for South Africa when captain Graeme Smith called his regular partnership-breaker, Jacques Kallis, into the attack. The Golden Arm once again did the trick, inducing a nothing-shot by Vettori and a return catch, which Kallis had to dash forward and dive to take.

Vettori might not look particularly stylish at the crease, but the left-hander is mightily effective as he showed in scoring 46 off 78 balls, with eight fours.

The South African-born Van Wyk battled on for over two hours, scoring 36 before Vernon Philander, armed with the second new ball, duped him into pushing at a delivery outside off stump, edging a low catch to Smith at first slip.

Tim Southee was easily dispatched by Philander as he lamely wafted at his second ball and was also caught by Smith at first slip, for a duck.

Doug Bracewell played an invaluable role in giving New Zealand the lead as he scored 25, before he was bowled by an inspired delivery from Dale Steyn that pitched on middle-and-leg before crashing into off-stump.

Philander was the most successful of the South African attack with 4-50 in 17 overs, but all the bowlers played a part in a fine all-round performance with the ball.

South Africa had removed dangermen Brendon McCullum and Ross Taylor in quick succession to reduced New Zealand to 144 for five at tea.

McCullum and Taylor were the third and fourth wickets to fall, for 48 and 44 respectively, the double strike turning the tide back in favour of the South Africans after New Zealand’s two premier batsmen had added 65.

Morne Morkel has suffered mixed fortunes this year, but the lanky fast bowler set the tone with a marvellous burst straight after lunch, starting with the wicket of Martin Guptill for 16 with his fifth ball after the break.

Guptill was way too late with a tentative prod outside off stump and succeeded only in edging the ball back into his own stumps, and Morkel then piled on the pressure, with able support from Philander and Tahir, on to McCullum and Taylor. —Supersport