A resilient stand between Henry Nicholls and BJ Watling delayed the Proteas’ victory parade in the second session on day four.
New Zealand went into lunch in tatters on 18-4. With a record target of 400 needed for victory, the contest is well beyond them, but Nicholls and Watling hung around long enough to annoy the hosts with them now on 95-5.
The Proteas declared on 132-7 in the morning session, with that 400-run figure clearly the mark they wanted to set as Temba Bavuma battled his way to 40 not out.
The tourists didn’t look like they were going to last two sessions let alone five and a half, as Dale Steyn ripped through the top order, collecting three wickets in just 11 balls on a pitch leaving the batsmen all but helpless. For the fifth time ever and first time in 16 years in Test match cricket, both openers fell for golden ducks.
Nicholls and Watling then set about grafting hard after lunch, and despite the pitch just continuing to get worse they dealt with Kagiso Rabada relatively well once Steyn and Vernon Philander were rested.
Their partnership stretched to an improbable 68, until Dane Piedt was introduced. Just when the batsmen thought they had enough pace to deal with, Piedt got it to turn aggressively and that proved Watling’s undoing, trapped lbw for 32.
Nicholls continued to battle and has now been at the crease for well over two hours. He’ll go into the final session on 37, with Mitchell Santner there with him on eight.
Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/Backpage Pix