Sunday, May 19, 2024

New Zealand beats under-strength South Africa by 281 runs in test cricket series opener

New Zealand South Africa
South Africa’s Raynard van Tonder bats on day four of the first cricket test between New Zealand and South Africa at Bay Oval, Mt Maunganui, New Zealand, Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2024. (Photo: Andrew Cornaga/Photosport via AP)

Mount Maunganui (NZ), February 7: New Zealand beat an under-strength South Africa lineup by 281 runs on the fourth day of the first cricket test Wednesday to take an early lead in the two-match series.
Captain Tim Southee declared New Zealand’s second innings overnight at 179-4, with an overall lead of 528. New Zealand bowled out South Africa in the fourth innings for 247.
New Zealand posted 511 batting first and dismissed South Africa for 162 for a 349-run first innings lead. Southee chose not to enforce the follow-on and Kane Williamson completed his second century of the match, the 31st of his career, before the declaration.
“I think it was pretty good on a good (pitch) for the batters to set it up and the bowlers to take 20 wickets,” Southee said. “We knew the South Africa side would be a strong one. You look at them in all sports, they compete, they’re a very proud nation so we knew they were going to come out and fight.”
South Africa was in trouble early Wednesday, losing the wickets of openers Neil Brand and Edward Moore within the first four overs.
Zubayr Hamza and Raynard van Tonder batted more than 100 minutes to carry South Africa to lunch without further loss. But both were out to undisciplined shots immediately after the break, hastening the end.
David Bedingham lifted South Africa’s hopes after lunch with a career-best 87 from 96 balls in a partnership of 105 for the fifth wicket with Keegan Petersen (16).
The partnership occupied most of the middle session and while Bedingham and Petersen were together New Zealand was faced with the prospect that the test might continue into the fifth day.
Bedingham had benefited from New Zealand’s short-pitched bowling, hitting 13 fours and a six. But he chased a short ball once too often and fell to Kyle Jamieson not long after the tea interval.
Jamieson removed both partners as South Africa slumped from 178-4 to 181-6. Bedingham tried to pull a ball which reached him sooner than he expected and his miscued shot flew to Mitchell Santner at deep midwicket.
Petersen attempted to hook a ball which bounced to chest height, tucked him up and his pull shot was taken by Rachin Ravindra at fine leg.
With such a big lead, New Zealand was able to work on plans to dismiss the key South Africa batters and, while it was expensive, the short-pitch policy eventually yielded the wicket of Bedingham.
Clyde Fortuin’s dismissal was indicative of the bad luck South Africa has had throughout the test. He pushed a rank short ball from part-time spinner Glenn Phillips which hit the knee of Tom Latham as he ducked at short leg and flew up to be caught by wicketkeeper Tom Blundell.
Duanne Olivier was caught by Daryl Mitchell at first slip from Santner’s bowling as he pushed forward outside off. Santner found a lot of turn earlier in the day and was unlucky not to enjoy more success.
Tshepo Moreki was caught out by a ball from Santner which pitched in line and hurried on, catching him in front as he squared up in front of his stumps.
The end finally came 40 minutes before scheduled stumps when Dane Paterson holed out to Williamson from Santner’s bowling.
New Zealand’s win was set up on the first day when Williamson and Ravindra made centuries in a partnership eventually worth 232. Williamson was out early on the second day for 118 but Ravindra turned his maiden test century into a double century before he was out for 240.
Ravindra also took his first two wickets in tests in the first innings as New Zealand control of the match.
South Africa selected six new caps in its lineup for the test, stripped of most of its leading players who stayed home to play in a domestic T20 series. Inevitably, there were signs of inexperience: notably that batsmen who had made a start got out after a break in play.
But there were promising signs from South Africa’s middle order batters. Brand opened in both innings and made 4 and 3 with the bat. But he excelled with the ball, taking eight wickets with his part-time spinners.
“We were completely outplayed by a very good New Zealand team,” Brand said. “I think our patience was tested on this wicket. Guys got in then got themselves out. Back to the drawing board and I hope we can compete more in the second test. (AP)