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Friday January 4, 2013

South Africans dominate second day of Test

CAPE TOWN (South Africa): A completely dominant South Africa declared their first innings on 347-8 just after lunch on Day 2 of the first Test against New Zealand at Newlands yesterday, an imposing lead of 302 with less than half the match played.

New Zealand then lost Martin Guptill to Dale Steyn off the sixth ball of their second innings to be 0-1 after one over and facing another embarrassing batting effort after being blasted out for 45 and their third lowest total in Tests just a day ago.

Captain Graeme Smith called in his players after AB de Villiers fell for 67 soon after the break and Robin Peterson was bowled for 5, giving New Zealand’s fragile batting order the best part of two sessions to survive and avoid an innings defeat inside two days in the series opener.

De Villiers had led South Africa to the brink of a 300-run lead before he fell to Chris Martin for his 30th test half-century, while Peterson cracked one four over mid-wicket before also being bowled by Martin trying another big shot.

New Zealand’s bowlers had struck early on Day 2 but their vastly-improved effort from the first day still couldn’t stop the top-ranked South Africans from forging further ahead.

The Black Caps briefly returned the match to a more normal – if not yet even – contest in the first session after South Africa was 252-3 overnight, removing Alviro Petersen for 106 in the day’s second over, Faf du Plessis for 15 in the 10th and Dean Elgar (21) just before lunch to slow South Africa’s runaway start to the series opener.

De Villiers still ensured South Africa built steadily on their one-sided dominance of Day 1, leading the Proteas to 335-6 at the lunch break with the home team’s third half-century alongside Petersen’s century.

South Africa already had a match-winning advantage by the end of the first day after bowling New Zealand out for their lowly 45 on the first morning, thanks to Vernon Philander’s rampant 5-7 off only six overs.

Morning rain yesterday gave the beleaguered Black Caps a boost on a Newlands pitch that already had some cracks for the bowlers to exploit and Trent Boult’s 3-78 was the best in a vastly improved effort from the tourists.

Their mini-fightback, when they took 3-83 in the session, was too late to save this Test but the much-criticized Black Caps might be buoyed by the small signs if their limp batting lineup could only stand up to the top-ranked Test side’s feared quick bowling attack. That appeared again unlikely after just one Steyn over.

Earlier, century-maker Petersen was prevented from doing any more damage to the tourists’ flagging morale when he was beaten by an in-cutter and edged left-armer Boult’s first delivery of the day onto his stumps.

Du Plessis pushed at a Chris Martin ball that swung away from him and was caught in the gully as South Africa slipped to 281-5. Dean Elgar finally fell caught behind to Boult having survived what looked like a good lbw appeal from the same bowler shortly before.

Elgar, who started his Test career with a pair of ducks in Australia, smiled broadly under his helmet after the crowd gave him an ironic cheer for his first test run, but was removed when Boult collected his second wicket of the morning and a deserved reward for a threatening spell with the new ball when the left-handed batsman feathered an edge behind to wicketkeeper BJ Watling.       

The New Zealanders were completely outplayed on the opening day of the series, slumping chaotically to their lowest total in over 60 years and then allowing South Africa to rapidly build a lead of 207 through flowing innings from Petersen, Hashim Amla (66) and Jacques Kallis (60).

Despite the Black Caps’ credible start to Day 2, De Villiers’ 50 ensured South Africa was in a commanding and winning position. — AP

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