Proteas in dan­ger af­ter hosts cap­ture key wicket of El­gar on fourth day

New Straits Times - - Sport -

SOUTH African bat­ting coach Neil McKen­zie be­lieves his side need an­other 70 runs to feel safe af­ter New Zealand cap­tured the key wicket of Dean El­gar to keep alive the prospect of a re­sult in the first Test in Dunedin yesterday.

At stumps on day four, New Zealand were al­ready sens­ing a moral vic­tory with South Africa at 224 for six, a lead of 191 and with rain fore­cast on the fi­nal day.

Cham­pion run maker El­gar went late in the day for 89, and if it stays dry, McKen­zie said the re­main­der of the line up needed to build a big­ger buf­fer.

“It’s about dic­tat­ing terms in terms of bat­ting time,” he said.

“It’s not go­ing to come in 10 overs, that’s the na­ture of the wicket, so we have to graft up front, try and take that lead be­yond 260-270 and then you can dic­tate when you’re go­ing to de­clare.”

McKen­zie ar­gued that if rain forced a draw nei­ther side could take any ex­tra mo­men­tum into the sec­ond Test start­ing in Welling­ton on Thurs­day, but New Zealand bowler Jee­tan Pa­tel claimed a psy­cho­log­i­cal edge for the home side.

“To be able to stand up against the num­ber three team in the world and beat them on the first in­nings that’s a lit­tle win in it­self,” he said, but adding New Zealand’s sec­ond in­nings field­ing per­for­mance needed im­prove­ment.

“We put down a cou­ple of chances which against good side are costly. But, the way the guys kept fight­ing was pretty im­pres­sive.”

El­gar was a shin­ing light for South Africa in the gloom of Dunedin as he backed up from a first in­nings 140.

But on 89 when he tried to lift the pace in the fi­nal ses­sion, he skied a Pa­tel delivery which was taken by Kane Wil­liamson run­ning to his right from mid off.

On a chilly day in which play was dis­rupted twice by rain and gloom, Faf du Plessis

was on 56 and Ver­non Phi­lan­der on one when bad light ended play 20 min­utes early on a tough day which pro­duced only 186 runs and five wick­ets — three in the fi­nal ses­sion — at Univer­sity Oval.

While El­gar slowly moved South Africa ahead on the board, New Zealand did not help their cause with a se­ries of blun­ders, with their prob­lems com­pounded by the light and a leg in­jury to Trent Boult.

Boult, who took the wicket of Stephen Cook in the first over of the South African sec­ond in­nings, de­liv­ered 11 overs with­out suc­cess on Satur­day be­fore leav­ing the field to join bats­man Ross Tay­lor on the in­jured list.

When the new ball was taken in the fi­nal ses­sion Neil Wag­ner was the only fast bowler avail­able to work with spin­ners Pa­tel and Mitchell Santner.

Wag­ner had suc­cess early in the day with the wick­ets of Hashim Amla for 24 and JP for 39.

Du­miny had a charmed stay. He was dropped by Tom Latham on six, and on 20 he was given not out to a Pa­tel ap­peal for lbw.

New Zealand did not re­view the um­pire’s de­ci­sion, al­though the ball-tracker tech­nol­ogy showed it was head­ing straight at leg stump.

El­gar also had a life when he brought up his half cen­tury with a crack­ing drive that went through the hands of sub­sti­tute fielder Colin de Grand­homme at short cover.

Temba Bavuma was bowled by Santner for six when he blocked the left-armer only for the ball to hit the pitch and spin back on to the stumps.

Pa­tel then bowled Quin­ton de Kock (four), claim­ing the South African keeper for the fourth con­sec­u­tive in­nings on this tour.

Pa­tel had fig­ures of two for 72 and Wag­ner two for 57.


South Africa’s Dean El­gar bats on day four of the first Test against New Zealand in Dunedin yesterday.

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