Proteas retain control despite belated fightback
BJ Watling and Dean Brownlie salvaged a measure of respectability for New Zealand on day three of the second Test with South Africa, but the hosts remained on course for another thumping victory.
Watling initially shared 59 with number 11 Trent Boult as the Black Caps, 47 for six overnight, scrambled up to 121 all out in their first innings following Dale Steyn’s 19th Test five-wicket haul.
Invited to follow on with a mammoth deficit of 404, New Zealand looked to be heading for further embarrassment when Rory Kleinveldt struck with successive balls to leave the score reading 84 for four.
Yet Watling, the last man out for 63 first time around, subsequently demonstrated his character once again and received able support from Brownlie, a centurion in the series-opening defeat at Cape Town.
At stumps, New Zealand were still 247 runs in arrears on 157 for four, with Watling unbeaten on 41 and Brownlie six short of a half-century.
Steyn, who finished with 5-17, was the star of the morning session, the world’s number-one ranked bowler adding three scalps to the two he claimed on the previous evening.
Doug Bracewell was caught behind prodding uncertainly at a back-of-a-length delivery that shaped away; Jeetan Patel displayed little appetite for the fight when backing away to be comprehensively bowled and Neil Wagner fell lbw to an inswinger, with a review from the tailender proving unsuccessful.
New Zealand’s final pair counter-attacked impressively to keep South Africa in the field a while longer. Watling hit 13 fours before being caught at slip off Morne Morkel, while Boult’s 17 featured a huge straight six off Kleinveldt that resulted in a smashed window.
Steyn almost made immediate inroads when Graeme Smith opted to send New Zealand in once again, but Martin Guptill successfully reviewed a caught-behind decision that had initially gone against him; replays showed the third delivery of the innings had brushed the opener’s shoulder rather than glove.
Guptill survived another scare when an lbw review from Kleinveldt proved misguided and it was not until the 21st over that South Africa claimed a breakthrough.
The economical Robin Peterson trapped Brendon McCullum in front for 11, New Zealand’s skipper having played for turn that never came.
Kane Williamson matched McCullum’s score before being bowled by a Peterson delivery that skidded on with the arm and there was further misery to come for the tourists as Kleinveldt followed up a series of maidens with a double-strike in the 40th over.
Guptill, on 48, was punished for a lack of footwork when the seamer got one to take the top of off stump, while Daniel Flynn completed a woeful pair by edging a flat-footed drive through to AB de Villiers.
Watling and Brownlie survived the remainder of the day, but in doing so they merely appeared to be staving off the inevitable.