South African pacer returns from injury to reduce New Zealand to 15 for 2 after home side folds for 263 on shortened second day
Dale Steyn turned in a superb show of swing bowling in his first Test since December 2015, putting New Zealand under pressure after South Africa was bowled out for 263 on the second day of the first Test in Durban.
New Zealand had lost Martin Guptill and Tom Latham, the openers, and was 15 for 2 in 12 overs when rain arrived and brought about an early end to the day, with only 22 overs bowled on Saturday (August 20). Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor, both having scored two runs each, were holding fort at the close.
South Africa, who resumed on 236 for 8 after rain delayed the start of Day 2 by 50 minutes, lasted ten more overs, with Kagiso Rabada doing the bulk of the scoring. Tim Southee struck with the eighth ball of the day when he bowled Steyn before South Africa had added to its overnight total.
Rabada (32) and Dane Piedt (9) added 27 runs for the last wicket despite New Zealand taking the second new ball, which enabled Southee and Trent Boult to gain extravagant movement in the overcast conditions.
Boult ended with figures of 3 for 52, while Neil Wagner had 3 for 47 to lead the way in an all-round bowling effort by New Zealand.
South Africa’s innings had been propped up by Hashim Amla’s 53, but disappointingly for the home team, that was the highest score among the top seven batsmen even though each one got into double figures. New Zealand’s bowlers had done a splendid job of breaking partnerships and halting momentum with wickets in clusters, which kept South Africa down to a first-innings total lower than it would have liked.
However, Steyn showed that none of his old magic had been lost in his injury-enforced absence. He had failed to complete the only two Tests he had played in among South Africa's last eight matches because of groin and shoulder injuries, but he bowled with verve and control to even the scales for the home side after its batting performance.
He had figures of 6-4-3-2 when the rains came – an indication of not just his incisiveness but also his control.
He first had Latham edging to Amla at first slip and departing for 4 off the second ball of his fourth over. Bowling in helpful, heavily overcast conditions, he followed up in his next over with a full inswinger that trapped Guptill leg before for 7.
Latham could add only one run after being dropped off Vernon Philander, also returning from injury. Guptill survived an appeal for leg before wicket off Steyn's fourth ball of the innings when he was on 2.
Although Steyn had the better figures, Philander also looked close to his best after missing South Africa's most recent seven Test matches because of an ankle injury. In the last over before lunch, he twice beat Ross Taylor with balls that swung sharply away from the bat.
Rain then forced the players off the field, and while initially it was merely a drizzle, the light had turned bad enough to force the players in for an early lunch. But with the rain remaining steady and the brief spells of dryness coming under heavy clouds, there was no chance of play resuming.
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