South Africa battles to 236 for 8, with Hashim Amla’s 53 the top score
New Zealand seized the advantage on the first day of the first Test against South Africa at Kingsmead on Friday (August 19), reducing the home side to 236 for 8 in 77.4 overs when bad light forced play to end. At stumps, Kagiso Rabada, unbeaten on 14, was accompanied by Dale Steyn (2 not out).
It was a disappointing day for South Africa. It opted to bat in overcast conditions – the floodlights were on for most of the day – but despite all seven specialist batsmen getting into double figures, none went on to get a big score. New Zealand’s bowlers struck at key moments to break budding partnerships, and South Africa went from 33 without loss to 41 for 2, and from 102 for 2 to 106 for 4, before losing three wickets after the score had crossed 200.
It wasn’t an easy pitch to bat on, the strip being covered by a decent layering of grass, and with Trent Boult getting the ball to swing and seam, the South African openers were sent back within three overs of each other. Stephen Cook got a faint edge to a ball which straightened off the surface after several other deliveries had swung in to the right-hander. Dean Elgar then flashed at one outside off from Doug Bracewell with hard hands, edging it to second slip.
Hashim Amla and JP Duminy then got things to settle down, putting on a steady 61 for the third wicket. But Neil Wagner, who has been educated in South Africa, used the short ball effectively to have Duminy (14) caught at fine leg off a pull shot. Amla (53) then fell to a Boult inswinger, and South Africa’s recovery was halted.
Faf du Plessis, standing in as South African captain for the injured AB de Villiers, then ground it out for the most part, making 23 in an 84-ball vigil. With Temba Bavuma for company, 54 runs were added for the fifth wicket before du Plessis’s shift was finally ended by his former schoolmate Wagner, with the help of a spectacular diving catch at gully by Kane Williamson, the New Zealand captain.
Bavuma, now with Quinton de Kock for company, then helped add 48 for the sixth wicket and the 200-mark was breached. However, the stand was broken when de Kock, having scored a run-a-ball 33, attempted to loft Mitchell Santner down the ground for a third consecutive boundary, but only managed to give a catch to mid-off. With Bavuma (46) misjudging a sweep against Santner two balls later, South Africa was reduced to 208 for 7.
Vernon Philander was the final wicket to fall on the day, popping one to mid-off, before poor light halted play and eventually resulted in stumps.
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