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Patient du Plessis puts South Africa in control

Pacers strike after captain’s century to leave New Zealand 38 for 3 on second day, still trailing by 443 runs

Patient du Plessis puts South Africa in control - Cricket News
Faf du Plessis steered South Africa to a commanding 481 for 8 declared with his 122 off 234 balls.
Faf du Plessis led from the front on the second day of the second Test against New Zealand’s steady bowling on a Centurion pitch that offered some help to the seam bowlers, hitting a century that put his side in a strong position. Shepherding the lower half of the batting order, du Plessis steered the team to a commanding 481 for 8 declared with his 112 off 234 balls on Sunday (August 28).
 
South Africa then snared three quick wickets in the last session of day two to have the visiting side in some trouble at 38 for 3, trailing by 443 runs.
 
New Zealand began its innings positively with Martin Guptill slamming a couple of boundaries, but he soon fell, poking a Vernon Philander delivery to Stiaan van Zyl in slips. Dale Steyn struck soon after, inducing a faint edge off Tom Latham, the other opener, who was originally given not out to a caught behind decision, but had to walk back after a review.
 
New Zealand’s woes were compounded when Ross Taylor was run out by Temba Bavuma after trying a risky single, but Henry Nicholls and Kane Williamson negotiated the remaining overs safely through to the close of play.
 
For New Zealand, Neil Wagner, the left-arm seamer, was the standout performer, as he toiled to return 5 for 86 in 39 overs.
 
Resuming the day on 283 for 3, du Plessis and JP Duminy started slowly, seeing off the second new ball before Duminy was caught behind off Tim Southee, getting a faint edge to an attempted pull against a bouncer. Duminy, who made 88 off 158 balls with 13 fours, became the fourth South African batsman to score a half-century in the innings.
 
Bavuma, who came in at No. 6, took some time to settle in but just when he looked set to build a substantial partnership with du Plessis, he was beaten by a Wagner bouncer and was superbly caught by Doug Bracewell at fine leg.
 
Meanwhile, du Plessis took control, unleashing a few pull shots before lunch, with van Zyl for company as the duo approached the break in circumspect fashion. The scoring was a bit more brisk after lunch, thanks to du Plessis, who punished some short-pitched deliveries with confident hooks, including one that flew over square-leg for six.
 
Van Zyl, a late replacement for Dean Elgar was playing his first Test since January. He made a cautious 35 off 111 before he was caught at a wide slip by Ross Taylor to become Wagner’s fourth victim, shortly before tea.
 


Wagner almost had a fifth wicket soon after when Vernon Philander was trapped in front by a rising delivery, but replays suggested it was too high. Philander and du Plessis played out five overs to take South Africa to tea without any further damage.
 
But Wagner had the last laugh when he castled Philander’s offstump soon after the break to bring up his five-wicket haul. In the next over, du Plessis pulled Boult for a couple to bring up his fifth Test century. Steyn, who joined his skipper after Kagiso Rabada fell to Mitchell Santner, hammered a couple of massive sixes off the left-arm spinner over long-on before South Africa chose to declare.

Please click here to review the match in full in the ICC Match Centre.

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