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Tuesday, 06 February 2024 08:18

Kane Williamson gets second century as NZ build lead of 528.

By Patrick Compton.


New Zealand took complete charge of the first Tegel test against South Africa at the Bay Oval in Mount Maungenui, finishing Tuesday’s third day on 179 for four in their second innings, a huge overall lead of 528 with two days left.

Kane Williamson, playing with added fluency and aggressive intent, scored his second hundred in the match with minimum fuss as his team prepared for an early declaration on Wednesday.

Compared with his somewhat laboured ton in the first innings (118 in 289 balls), it was a breeze second time around as he stroked 12 fours in 125 balls to reach three figures. He became the fifth New Zealand batsman to achieve the feat of scoring back to back hundreds in tests. It was also his 31st test century, to go with 33 fifties and underlines his place as the No 1-ranked test player in the world and New Zealand’s greatest. When he was finally out, stumped off Neil Brand in the penultimate over of the day, he had struck 109 in 132 balls, including 12 fours and a six.

So far in this match, the gap between the two teams has widened to the kind of gulf South Africans feared might be the case after an inexperienced touring party had to be selected for the series. There was a moment during the New Zealand second innings, when Devon Conway should have been stumped by wicketkeeper Clyde Fortuin and then Eddie Moore dropped a simple chance off Kane Williamson at deep square leg when the disparity between the two sides seemed almost embarrassing. In addition there were a number of reviews by the South Africans that showed their desperation but little objective appreciation of a possible wicket.

Moore at least made amends for his blunder, claiming a good low catch in the deep to get rid of Conway (29 in 68 balls) but by then runs were almost an irrelevance as New Zealand's lead appeared to be disappearing well beyond the reach of the visitors.

At the start of the day, South Africa resumed their first innings on 80 for four with the tourists’ hopes centred squarely on David Bedingham and Keegan Petersen. As it turned out, South Africa were only able to score 49 runs for the loss of three wickets in 28 overs in the morning session as the home team's disciplined bowlers subjected the batsmen to a remorseless interrogation as the Proteas limped into lunch on 129 for seven.

The pace trio of Matt Henry, Tim Southee and Kyle Jamieson hardly bowled a bad ball while left-arm spinner Mitch Santner teased and tormented the batsmen as he varied his pace and flight, extracting plenty of turn on occasion.

Bedingham (32 off 58 balls) was the first to go in the sixth over. He had scored freely the previous evening but was given nothing to hit by Southee and Henry up front. Perhaps frustrated, he got a leading edge to an attempted pull off Henry, the ball looping straight up for Santner to complete the catch.

His dismissal briefly opened the door for the Black Caps with Henry striking again two balls later when Ruan de Swardt was adjudged leg before to a delivery he left just outside his off-stump. On review, the inswinging ball was shown to be just clipping.

Fortuin joined Petersen and the pair began slowly with Fortuin taking 17 balls to get off the mark. Fortuin was put down by wicketkeeper Tom Blundell off Santner – a tough chance – and the pair were just beginning to show signs of fluency when Santner held back a delivery that Fortuin lofted to Southee at short cover. The wicketkeeper departed for nine in 52 balls, the pair having eked out 37 in 108 balls for the seventh wicket.

Petersen batted through the morning session and was beginning to play with some confidence when he gave his wicket away shortly after lunch, mistiming a lofted drive off left-arm spinner Ravindra, holing out to Williamson at deep mid-off. It was a disappointingly soft way for Petersen (45 off 132 balls) to go after all his hard work and his dismissal exposed the tail as Tshepo Moreki and Paterson were quickly dismissed by left-arm spinners Santner and Ravindra.

Whatever the deficiencies of the South African batting, the home team's bowling unit were superb, bowling very few bad balls and keeping the pressure on all the time. Henry and Santner got three wickets apiece with Jamieson and Ravindra each claiming a brace.

New Zealand: Tim Southee (capt), Tom Latham, Devon Conway, Kane Williamson, Rachin Ravindra, Daryl Mitchell, Tom Blundell (wk), Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner, Kyle Jamieson, Matt Henry

South Africa: Neil Brand (capt), Edward Moore, Raynard van Tonder, Zubayr Hamza, David Bedingham, Keegan Petersen, Ruan de Swardt, Clyde Fortuin (wk), Duanne Olivier, Tshepo Moreki, Dane Paterson.