South Africa 372 ahead af­ter 13-wicket day

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport Starts Here -

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

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