Both openers scored half-centuries, as New Zealand worked their way to 132-1 by lunch on day three at Seddon Park.
Rain continues to loom as a threat across the Hamilton skies on day three, and indeed overnight rain and morning drizzle meant a delayed start, with more rain expected to hamper the second session. It didn’t prevent the Black Caps, however, from continuing to push on in their first innings.
After Quinton de Kock’s 90 allowed the Proteas to post 314 on day two, Tom Latham and Jeet Raval saw off the remaining 25.4 overs of the day to get their side to 67-0, with a deficit of 247 runs.
They continued the hard work after the start was delayed by an hour and a half on Monday morning. Latham, who started the day on 42, wasted no time in getting his 13th Test half-century, which was a vital return to form for his country after posting scores of 10, 8 and 6. He brought up the milestone, off the bowling of Morne Morkel, with his 10th boundary of the innings.
Morkel’s next over then brought about the breakthrough, as he angled one in to Latham, who edged one behind, forcing a brilliant low catch from De Kock. Latham had to walk back for 50, ending the 83-run stand. That was Morkel’s 250th scalp in Test cricket, becoming the sixth South African to do so.
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With the pressure somewhat off Williamson, who has been used to coming in early in recent times, he looked his cool and composed self as the Black Caps built up yet another useful partnership. The skipper wasted no time getting off the mark, before producing a classy cover drive off Morkel and a sublime straight six over Keshav Maharaj’s head.
By the time the session had ended, Williamson (27) and Raval had put together 49 runs, with Raval (54) notching up his half-century right at the stroke of lunch. They will go in to the second session on 132-1, 182 runs behind.
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