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SA v NZ 2nd Test, Day 3 Review: Wickets fall in clusters as South Africa extends lead

Quinton de Kock
Quinton de Kock. (Photo Source: Cricket South Africa)

After picking up 3 quick wickets by the end of day 2, South Africa were in total command of the match. The New Zealand batsmen faced some hostile bowling from the South African pacers and no wonder why they ended with a score of 38/3 yesterday. The ray of hope for the visitors was in the fact that their skipper Kane Williamson looked solid at the crease.

However, with a trail of 443 runs, it was never going to be easy for New Zealand on the 3rd day of the match. Earlier in the Test, the South African top order was is sublime touch and the top 5 scored in excess of 50 runs. Faf du Plessis’ unbeaten 112 saw South Africa post a huge 481/8 before declaring their innings. The Kiwis were rocked by early blows as both their openers were back in the hut cheaply.

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Coming into day 3, Williamson and Nicholls walked to the crease with their overnight scores of 15* and 4* respectively. The two batsmen played sensibly and safely negotiated the first hour of the play. However, Nicholls became the first man to be dismissed today just before the lunch when Kagiso Rabada trapped him in front of his stumps. Nicholls’ strong resistance saw him score 36 off 67 balls, and more importantly a crucial 60-run stand with Williamson.

With the scorecard reading 86/4, the Kiwis needed a much better effort from their lower order to make a game out of the situation. It wasn’t to be though. BJ Watling (8) and Mitchell Santner (0) were sent back to the pavilion by Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander respectively to see New Zealand reeling on 111/6.

Doug Bracewell was the new man in to join Williamson. While the wickets kept tumbling at one end, skipper Williamson steadily moved closer to his half century. Bracewell’s stay at the crease was cut short when Rabada picked up his 2nd wicket by trapping him lbw on 18 (36). With 7 wickets down and scorecard reading only 146, Williamson sensed the urgency to add some runs before the team got bowled out.

In the process, he notched up his 22nd Test fifty and showed resilience against the pace trio of South Africa. Tim Southee could add only 8 runs to the score before being dismissed by Dane Piedt. Not much was expected from the number 10, Neil Wagner. But he produced a gem of an innings, albeit a very short cameo. Wagner hit 4 fours and a 6 in his run-a-ball 30 that saw New Zealand cross the 200-run mark.

Dale Steyn managed to get an edge off his bat to send him back to the dugout. Meanwhile, Williamson had strolled to 77 and was the last man to be dismissed. He got an edge off the bowling of Rabada as de Kock completed the catch. His 77 came off 133 balls with 8 fours and a six. New Zealand first innings wrapped up on 214 as South Africa’s lead stood tall – 267 runs. Steyn and Rabada bagged 3 wickets each and Philander pocketed 2.

Surprisingly, South Africa did not enforce the follow-on. South African openers, Quinton de Kock and Stephen Cook, walked in to bat in the 2nd innings. Kiwi pacers had some other plans though. Trent Boult made short work of Cook by sending him back on just 4 in the 4th over. Tim Southee got rid of Hashim Amla (1) and JP Duminy (0) in space of 4 deliveries in the very next over to give some serious jitters to the hosts.

Few overs later, du Plessis was dismissed by Boult on 6 to push South Africa to 47/4. Meanwhile, Quinton de Kock played with aggression and counter attacked. He was joined at the crease by Temba Bavuma. While Bavuma took his time to settle in, de Kock raced to his half-century in quick time. He could not add any more to his total after that though. He was caught by Kane Williamson off the bowling of Doug Bracewell. De Kock scored 50 off 43 balls with 8 fours and a six.

Stiaan Van Zyl arrived at the crease. He struggled during his 32-ball stay at the crease and could manage to score only 5. He perished to Neil Wagner to leave South Africa drowning at 98/6. The end of the day saw Temba Bavuma walk out unbeaten on 25 off 69 balls and Philander with 3 off 16. South Africa ended their day on 105/6 in 34 overs. Despite losing wickets, they managed to consolidate a 372-run lead on a deteriorating wicket.

Brief Scores:

South Africa – 481/8 declared in 154 overs (Faf du Plessis 112*, Duminy 88, Wagner 5/86, Santner 1/62)

New Zealand – 214/10 in 58.3 overs (Williamson 77, Nicholls 36, Rabada 3/61, Steyn 3/66)

South Africa – 105/6 in 34 overs (Q de Kock 50, Bavuma 25*, Southee 2/27, Boult 2/38)

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