Du Plessis, seam­ers put SA on top

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Supplement/sport Starts Here -

New Zealand 38 for 3 (Phi­lan­der 1-10, Steyn 1-18) trail South Africa 481 for 8 dec (du Plessis 112*, Du­miny 88,

Wag­ner 5-86) by 444 runs FAF du Plessis scored his first cen­tury in 17 in­nings since De­cem­ber 2014 and South Africa’s seam­ers picked from where they left off in Dur­ban to give the hosts con­trol of the se­ries de­cider. Du Plessis was one of a quin­tet of bats­men to cross 50 — only the sec­ond time all of South Africa’s top five have done so — as they wore New Zealand out be­fore declar­ing on a day of toil for the vis­i­tors.

The cur­rent New Zealand crop have never been kept in the field for more overs than the 154 they were dur­ing South Africa’s in­nings. As a team, they have spent more time on the park eight times be­fore in the first in­nings, most re­cently in 1999. The con­so­la­tion for them was that Neil Wag­ner claimed his fourth five-wicket haul on his first Test ap­pear­ance at his for­mer home ground while the rest of the at­tack went largely luck­less. Trent Boult will be par­tic­u­larly en­vi­ous of the re­turns the other seam­ers en­joyed af­ter he went wick­et­less de­spite cre­at­ing nu­mer­ous chances, beat­ing the bat, find­ing move­ment and sev­eral edges.

In­stead, it was South Africa who reaped re­ward, as they plucked out New Zealand’s open­ers early. This time Ver­non Phi­lan­der was in on the ac­tion too. He cre­ated the first chance when he squared Martin Gup­till up with a de­liv­ery that straight­ened from leg stump and took the edge but went over the slips where Sti­aan van Zyl was reach­ing for it. Van Zyl only had to wait un­til Phi­lan­der’s next over to make amends. Gup­till was fish­ing out­side off again and van Zyl took the catch off the edge.

At the other end, Dale Steyn was try­ing to force the bats­men to drive, and got one to nip back into Tom Latham and ap­pealed for caught be­hind. Um­pire Paul Reif­fel gave it not out but Steyn was in­sis­tent and South Africa re­viewed. Re­plays sug­gested the ball had brushed the pocket but a thin spike on Ul­tra Edge con­vinced the third um­pire Richard Illing­worth Latham was out off the in­side edge. The de­ci­sion fired Steyn up even more. He greeted Ross Tay­lor with a 140kph bouncer that struck him on the shoul­der and an­other, even faster, at 145kph, on the arm. Tay­lor weath­ered the storm but the the pres­sure got to him. As the first change was made — Kag­iso Rabada took over from Phi­lan­der — he nudged into the leg side set off a sin­gle. Temba Bavuma swooped to his left from short leg and his di­rect hit found Tay­lor short of his ground and dis­missed for the first time on New Zealand’s African tour.

Kane Wil­liamson bat­ted to the close but the “oh no,” he ut­tered when he squan­dered a re­view ear­lier in the day — agree­ing to go up­stairs when Wag­ner thought he had Phi­lan­der out lbw — could have ap­plied to the whole day for New Zealand.

They started strongly when Boult con­tin­ued his blis­ter­ing new-ball spell and threat­ened a wicket in al­most ev­ery over. He could have had one off the first ball of the morn­ing, which nipped back into du Plessis and al­most took out off stump. Later he drew an in­side-edge, rapped du Plessis on the pads and had him pulling to deep square leg where Henry Ni­cholls let it slip through his grasp.

For­tune was with South Africa as JP Du­miny sur­vived too. He could have been caught in the slips but the edge fell short and he was reg­u­larly beaten but he fought his way into form. Du­miny seemed des­tined for a first Test hun­dred in two years but then got a bot­tom edge off a rash pull to fin­ish 12 short.

Wag­ner used a sig­na­ture short ball to re­move Temba Bavuma, the only bats­men not to get into dou­ble fig­ures, but South Africa’s long line-up meant New Zealand were not through. Sti­aan van Zyl — now bat­ting in the mid­dle or­der af­ter an un­suc­cess­ful stint at the top — joined du Plessis in cir­cum­spec­tion and bat­ted most of the sec­ond ses­sion while du Plessis pa­tiently played for a cen­tury.

His strike rate only climbed when he moved from 60 to 80 in 15 de­liv­er­ies. For the rest of his in­nings, du Plessis was will­ing to wait and it was only af­ter van Zyl and Phi­lan­der were dis­missed that he got there. In two emo­tional overs, Wag­ner cel­e­brated a five-for in front of friends and fam­ily from his home­town and du Plessis was vin­di­cated af­ter be­ing dropped in the last Test se­ries and brought back as stand-in cap­tain for this one. Per­sonal per­for­mance aside, du Plessis doubt­less ended the day the hap­pier man. — Cricinfo

Faf du Plessis’ fifth Test hun­dred helped South Africa de­clare on 481 for 8 be­fore their bowlers re­duced New Zealand to 38 for 3 on day two in Cen­tu­rion AFP

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