SOUTH Africa were on the verge of winning the first Test against New Zealand, despite the visitors fighting back in the last session at Newlands.
New Zealand ended day two 169 for four, 133 runs behind South Africa, who followed up the Black Caps’ embarrassing opening effort of 45 all out – their third-lowest Test score – with 347 for eight declared.
Dean Brownlie’s unbeaten 69 was a rare bright moment for the visitors as he put on 89 with skipper Brendon McCullum for the third wicket as New Zealand showed some resilience in Cape Town.
The Black Caps made the ideal start from the first ball of the second over of the day as Trent Boult got one to nip back at Alviro Petersen (106), who could only get an inside edge on the delivery before the ball clattered into the stumps. AB de Villiers, who began the day unbeaten on 19, was tentative, scoring his first boundary in the seventh over as the hosts attempted to build on what was already a significant first-innings lead.
The four kick-started the scoring, although the hosts suffered a blow in the 73rd over. Veteran seam bowler Chris Martin pitched one up that swung away from Faf du Plessis, with the batsman edging to Kane Williamson in the slips for 15.
At 280 for four, De Villiers and new batsman Dean Elgar, playing in just his second Test, built slowly until consecutive fours from the one-day skipper off Boult yielded ten runs in the 82nd over.
However, New Zealand struck again in the 89th over as Elgar, playing back, edged a rising Boult delivery to wicketkeeper B J Watling who took a simple catch for 21.
De Villiers fell in just the second over after lunch for 67. Walking to the off side to create room on leg, he missed and Martin’s delivery smashed into the top of middle stump.
The 38-year-old struck again in his next over with Robin Peterson the next South African to be bowled as his off-stump was disturbed attempting to play a leg side shot.
This led to home captain Graeme Smith declaring, leaving New Zealand to bat out the remaining 56 overs of the day 302 runs behind.
Brownlie ended the day unbeaten on 69, with wicketkeeper Watling at the other end on ten.