SA v NZ 2nd Test Review – Dale Steyn powers South Africa to series win

SA v NZ 2nd Test Review – Dale Steyn powers South Africa to series win

Dale Steyn South Africa
South African bowler Dale Steyn (C) celebrates the dismissal of New Zealand batsman Tom Latham. (Photo by GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP/Getty Images)

Despite losing wickets in clusters on the 3rd day of the Test, hosts South Africa were still pretty much in complete control of the game. The reason for this was quite obvious – the handsome lead that they managed to get from the first innings. The first day of the all-important 2nd and final Test saw South African batsmen dominate the proceedings. The top five batters scored 50-plus scores to help South Africa post a mammoth 481/8 decl.

The chief architect of the innings was Faf du Plessis, who scored a brilliant 112* and was well supported by JP Duminy. The New Zealand team, on the other hand, seemed to bat on a very different track on day 2. They were rocked by the pace trio of Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn and Kagiso Rabada. The pacers accounted for 8 Kiwi wickets as New Zealand bundled out for 214 in their first innings.

The drama unfolded on the 3rd day, when after bowling the visitors out cheaply, South Africa decided not to enforce the follow-on. South African batsmen came out in the middle, but only to lose 4 of their top 5 batters for single digit scores. However, Quinton de Kock’s 43-ball 50 provided some impetus to the innings. By the end of the 3rd day, South Africa looked wobbly at 105/6 with Temba Bavuma unbeaten on 25.

Day 4 promised a lot of action and indeed it turned out to be the decisive day. Bavuma and Philander walked to the crease to resume the proceedings. The duo played for around 9.3 overs until Philander was cleaned up by Tim Southee on 14. In walked Dane Piedt to join Bavuma.

Bavuma marshalled the lone fight till South Africa surprisingly decided to declare on 132/7, after only 13 overs been bowled in the day. Bavuma walked unbeaten on 40. For the visitors, Southee was the pick of the bowlers with the figures of 3/46.

With a target of 400 to win, the task for the New Zealand batsmen was never going to be easy. What worked worse for them was Dale Steyn firing in on all cylinders and looking as threatening as he could be. He got rid of Tom Latham on the very first ball of the innings. In the same over, he dismissed Martin Guptill for a first ball duck as well, and thereby sending back both the openers for golden ducks.

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Steyn wasn’t done just yet. He bowled with pace and aggression. No wonder, he trapped Ross Taylor on his pads to send him for a duck too. Skipper Kane Williamson, who was the highest scorer for the visitors in the first innings. He could score only 5 before Vernon Philander dismissed him in the 4th over. New Zealand were in all sorts of trouble at 7/4 inside 4 overs of play.

Henry Nicholls and BJ Watling were the two new men at the crease. The task was daunting but they tried to bail out their side out of the hot waters. They put on 68 runs for the 5th wicket in 135 balls and negotiated the pace of Dale Steyn, who had an excellent spell in the middle. Watling’s resistance ended after scoring 87-ball 32 when Dane Piedt got him out lbw. Mitchell Santner was the new man in.

As the play progressed, Santner gave some support to Nicholls, who strolled to his second Test fifty. South Africa needed to break the frustrating stand and skipper threw the ball back to his main man- Dale Steyn. He did exactly what was asked. Steyn ended Santner’s 40-ball stay by rocking his woodwork and thereby taking his 4th in the innings.

Doug Bracewell came in as number 8 and played his shots without any fear. His 30-ball 36 that included 2 sixes and 3 fours was stalled by Philander. He went up for a review but in vain. New Zealand were 164/7 as Southee came in to bat. He gave support to Nicholls, who had meanwhile reached his 70s. However, the assistance didn’t last long as Rabada knocked Southee over for 14.

He took very little time to then get the wicket of Neil Wagner on 3. Just as the doctor had ordered – the stage was set, one wicket to get and Steyn was one wicket away from bagging a five-for. He did exactly that and dismissed Nicholls on 76 to claim his five-wicket haul. Nicholls’ 76 came off 140 balls with 12 fours. Steyn finished with figures of 5/33 as South Africa thumped New Zealand by 204 runs and sealed the series 1-0.

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 – 132/7 in 47 overs (Q de Kock 50, Bavuma 40*; Southee 3/46, Boult 2/44)

New Zealand – 195/10 in 58.2 overs (Nicholls 76, Waytling 32; Steyn 5/33, Philander 2/34)

Man of the match: Quinton de Kock