JP Duminy’s 4-47 restricted New Zealand to 268, before the Proteas struggled to 24-2 on day one in Wellington.
He’s in the side for his runs at No 4, which, in recent months, he’s struggled to compile. But Duminy did the talking with the ball instead on day one of the second Test at the Basin Reserve, earning career-best figures of 4-47 to see off Nicholls and the tail, for the Proteas to complete their objective of bowling the opposition out on the first day.
It wouldn’t have been in their plans to lose their openers, Stephen Cook and Dean Elgar, who both edged deliveries to Jamie Neesham in the slips to depart for three and nine respectively.
No less than six of the wickets went thanks to spin, which is ironic considering Faf du Plessis opted to bowl first due to the swing that was on offer.
And swing it did, as Kagiso Rabada (2-59) bowled a blistering spell to wreck the middle-order, while Morne Morkel bowled in unrelenting bursts, all contributing to New Zealand’s unflattering total.
The Black Caps made three changes to the side that held on to a draw against the Proteas in the first Test in Dunedin last week, two of them injury enforced. Tim Southee was a straight injury swap for Trent Boult, while debutant Neil Broom came in for Ross Taylor. They opted to exclude Mitchell Santner, bringing in pace all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme.
One thing that didn’t change, was the form of Tom Latham, who scored 10 in the first Test, before Morne Morkel found his edge to depart for eight, this after an lbw review would have seen him out earlier.
Rabada’s introduction then rattled the hosts, as he got the huge wicket of Kane Williamson with his sixth delivery, trapping him lbw for the skipper to depart for two. His next over saw the end of debutant Neil Broom, as Rabada bowled a ripper to force the edge and see him off for a duck.
Jeet Raval (36) fell to the spin of Keshav Maharaj (2-47) on the last ball before lunch, leaving them at 73-4. That was when Henry Nicholls came to the party. A non-Williamson contribution was desperately needed in the middle order, and he continued to play positively after reaching a 66-ball half-century.
BJ Watling’s 32 was a combative one, which saw him face 132 balls as he let Nicholls do all the shot-making at the other end. It was crucial that he stayed around though, for the partnership extended to 116 runs, this after Nicholls brought up his maiden Test century.
Duminy would be the man to unstick all of the hard work that Nicholls and Watling put in. Nicholls was bowled by the part-time off-spinner for 118, before proceeding to take two more wickets in as many overs. First De Grandhomme for four, and then Watling in bizarre fashion, as the ball bounced up from his back pad when attempting to sweep.
Morkel (2-82) picked up his second, before Duminy wrapped things up with the wicket of Neil Wagner for two, beating his previous best 4-73 against Australia in Cape Town in 2014.
The Proteas will go into day two on 24-2, trailing the New Zealanders by 244 runs, in what was a tricky seven-over spell in the evening session.
Cook went to a good, swinging delivery by Southee, before a much fuller delivery, this time from De Grandhomme, proved the end of Elgar for nine. It leaves the contest wide open, with nightwatchman Rabada on eight, and Hashim Amla yet to get off the mark.
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