Cape Town - The Proteas struck three times with the new
ball to put New Zealand on the ropes at the close of the second day of the
second Sunfoil Test match at SuperSport Park on Sunday.
On what amounted to a near perfect day for the home side Faf
du Plessis led from the front with his fifth Test century and his second
against New Zealand (112 not out, 232 balls, 12 fours and 2 sixes) to set up
the third highest first innings Test score at this venue of 481/8 declared
before Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander got rid of the New Zealand opening pair
as quickly as they had done in the previous match at Sahara Stadium Kingsmead.
Temba Bavuma then chimed in with the brilliant run out of
Ross Taylor from his specialist short leg position to leave New Zealand on 38/3
at the close and still 443 runs in arrears.
The visiting captain, Kane Williamson, will have to match
the performance of his opposing captain when play resumes on Monday morning.
The fact that Du Plessis and JP Duminy (88 off 158 balls, 13
fours) were the two leading runs scorers for South Africa in a match in which
the top five all past the half-century mark is highly encouraging looking ahead
not only to the remainder of this match but the forthcoming series in Australia
as well. Having the entire top order in good form is the basic requirement for
any successful Test side.
The foundation that had been laid on day one became all the
more evident as New Zealand opted for a containing policy on the second day
with a measure of success as they restricted the Proteas to 75/2 in the morning
session and 79/1 in the afternoon.
In spite of the containing nature of their bowling Neil
Wagner put in another wonderful effort and fully deserved his five-wicket haul
– 5/86 in 39 overs – to get his name on to the honours’ board at his original
The four New Zealand seamers all bowled more than 30 overs
as the spin of Mitchell Santner was again only frugally used as he added six overs
to the eight he had bowled on day one.
When New Zealand batted, Steyn and Philander were as
impressive as they had been at Kingsmead. By the time the total had reached
18/2 only one scoring stroke had been made in front of the wicket.
Kagiso Rabada bowled at express pace, topping out at 148km/h
compared to the 146 of Steyn and life is not going to get any easier for the
batsmen on a pitch of increasingly variable bounce.