South Africa 372 ahead after 13-wicket day
through New Zealand’s largely untested middle order, and took a first-innings lead of 267.
Having chosen not to enforce the follow-on, South Africa began their second innings in sprightly fashion after an early tea, with Quinton de Kock hitting five fours and a six off the first 11 balls he faced. But Trent Boult and Tim Southee utilised appreciable lateral movement to nip out three wickets in two overs: Stephen Cook lbw after being pinned in the crease to a Boult inswinger from Boult, Hashim Amla caught at second slip off Southee, and JP Duminy playing around his front pad. After five overs, South Africa were 32 for 3.
Just like in the first innings, New Zealand persisted by bowling short at de Kock, but he didn’t shy away from pulling. He made use of any width on offer and brought up his second fifty of the Test, off 42 balls. But an unplayable bouncer from Doug Bracewell, jagging into the left-hander from around the wicket and rearing towards his head, caused him to glove a catch to gully. By then, though, South Africa were 349 ahead.
It looked like Temba Bavuma and Stiaan van Zyl would play out the overs remaining till stumps, but just when they seemed set to achieve that objective, Wagner produced a lovely delivery in the channel outside off to have van Zyl caught behind.
In the morning, Williamson displayed exemplary technique — head over the ball, soft hands at point of contact and bat near pad — to quell Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada and Vernon Philander, all of whom got the ball to move both ways through the day. Williamson repeatedly left deliveries on a testing line outside off stump, forcing the quicks straighter and then picking them off through midwicket — his modus operandi for most of his innings. He scored 77, his first Test fifty in South Africa.
At the other end, South Africa peppered Henry Nicholls with short balls. Despite looking awkward while fending or avoiding the bouncers, Nicholls seemed largely untroubled against the ensuing full deliveries until he missed a drive off Rabada. Umpire Paul Reiffel adjudged Nicholls to be not out but on review, Hawkeye indicated that the ball had pitched in line and would have hit middle stump.
The short-pitched plans continued after Nicholls’ dismissal with a leg gully and short leg in place. Williamson and BJ Watling, two of New Zealand’s better-equipped batsmen to tackle the bouncer, ducked or swayed out of the line.
Steyn persevered and reaped reward when he had Watling fending off his ribs, the ball grazing his glove on the way to wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock. A thin spike on the Snickometer resulted in