New Zealand v South Africa, 3rd Test, Day 1 – 5 Talking Points

New Zealand
Mike Hesson head coach of New Zealand (L) with Captain Kane Williamson leave disappointed after a pitch inspection. (Photo by Dave Rowland/Getty Images)
Shubham Khare

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Having won the previous Test and gaining a 1-0 lead in the series, South Africa moved to Seddon Park in Hamilton to face off against New Zealand in the third and the final Test of the series. Going into the game, the Proteas looked to seal the series win with a win or a draw whereas, for the home side, it was the last chance to avoid a series defeat. The visitors won the toss and opted to bat first.

Both the openers departed in quick successions and they were left reeling at 5/2. Hashim Amla and JP Duminy put up a half-century stand for the third wicket before Duminy went back in the 24th over. Amla made a good fifty but was dismissed soon after. The skipper Faf du Plessis and Temba Bavuma were at the crease when rain interrupted and an early stumps had to be called.

For the Kiwis, the new ball bowlers were terrific and bagged two wickets apiece and made full use of the overcast conditions. A total of only 41 overs were bowled in the day as South Africa ended the day at 123/4.

Here are the 5 talking points from the first day’s play:

1. Dean Elgar’s brain fade

The term brain fade is very popular these days from the ongoing Test series between India and Australia after Kohli and Smith had their share of mishaps. Proteas’ opener Dean Elgar was the latest in the category after he left a delivery only to find his stumps shattered. The ball from de Grandhomme swung back in from a length to which the batsman shouldered arms and the ball hit the top of off. It wasn’t as dramatic as Kohli’s or Smith’s dismissal but certainly, would be trending for a while.

2. Seamers did the damage

Matt Henry drew first blood when he got the debutant opener Theunis de Bruyn out caught in the slips for a duck. The other seamer Colin de Grandhomme sent back Elgar in the next over when he castled the batsman. Henry came back to dismiss Duminy who was getting his eye in but the innings was cut short courtesy a shot ball. de Grandhomme then inflicted the wicket of an ominous looking Amla when he dismantled the stumps of the batsman.

3. Hashim Amla’s grit

Having lost the first 2 wickets for just 5 runs, South Africa were in a spot of bother and once more it was their saviour Amla who came to the rescue. He brought calmness to the proceedings and survived the moving new ball. Along with Duminy, he added 59 runs for the third wicket before Duminy was removed at the team’s score of 64. Amla went on to score his half-century of the series. But soon after, he had to walk back to the pavilion when de Grandhomme knocked him over with a beauty.

4. DRS howlers from the Kiwis

The home side although managed to pick up 4 wickets yet they did not have a good time on the field as far as DRS is concerned. In the 11th over, Duminy was hit on the pads but the umpire did not oblige to the appeal. The replays showed it was dead in front of the stumps but New Zealand did not go for the review. Next, they went for an LBW review for the same batsman when the ball had pitched outside the leg stump and they lost a review.

Then another shocker happened when they reviewed an LBW appeal against Faf du Plessis when the batsman had middled the ball and there was no contact with the pad. They lost both their reviews and were left wanting when the same batsman nicked one to the keeper and the umpire signaled not out.

5. Rain played spoilsport

It was an overcast day and the rain was predicted and it first came in just before the lunch break. Six minutes prior to the break, a slight drizzle forced the umpires to go for an early lunch. And when the tea break was about to happen, it returned and forced an early tea. But this time, it did not halt and no further play was possible in the day. Just 41 overs could be bowled in the day and the first day’s play lost 49 overs. If the rain gods permit, there will be an early start to next day’s play to cover up for the lost overs.