New Zealand v South Africa, 1st Test, Dunedin, 1st day March 7, 2012

Martin burst turns first day New Zealand's way


South Africa 191 for 7 (Amla 62, Smith 53, Martin 3-34) v New Zealand
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

A Chris Martin triple-strike just after tea justified Ross Taylor's decision to bowl first on a placid Dunedin surface, as New Zealand first toppled South Africa's top order giants, then made headway into the tail, to leave the visitors on 191 for 7 at stumps on the first day. Heavy clouds failed to deliver the swing Taylor had banked on, but Martin's stunning spell against his favourite opponent among the top-eight nations, turned the innings, and drew first blood in the series.

The drama of Martin's surge was heightened by its abruptness. Following a sleepy first session that offered so little for the pacemen that South Africa seemed destined for a mammoth total, Martin snaffled Graeme Smith, Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers in four balls to tear the guts out of the opposition top order.

The rush of intensity was immediately apparent in Martin's first few balls after tea. Twice he beat Smith's outside edge, before hitting the batsman on the midriff with a straighter one. Having finished the previous session somewhat deflated, New Zealand suddenly sensed change. When Smith scooped the next one to short cover, they were positively buzzing.

The first ball of Martin's next over was sharp, short and angled. Too good for Kallis who could only manage an edge, which Taylor flew to his left to intercept. AB de Villiers was trapped by an indipper first ball. His review interrupted New Zealand's celebrations momentarily, before replays confirmed the shout was as plumb as they come. From a comfortable 86 for 1, South Africa had slipped to 90 for 4.

The recovery from South Africa, though somewhat short-lived, was swift and pleasing to the eye. Hashim Amla unfurled the offside strokes that bore him fruit in the ODI series, as he nullified a reinvigorated New Zealand pace attack that were once again searching for scalps. Purring cover drives and crisp square cuts found the ropes, and in 80 balls, he and Jacques Rudolph had scored 66.

But having crossed 50, Amla fell to his nemesis from earlier in the innings. His tussle with Daniel Vettori had been the most engrossing battle of the earlier session, when the spinner's turn beat his outside edge in his attempts to defend, and Vettori's flight outdid enterprising scurries down the pitch. That time, the release had come for Amla when he finally connected to launch Vettori into the stands. But in his first over after tea, Vettori landed the knockout punch when he got one to kick, taking Amla's edge.

Mark Boucher was then the victim of the run-out South Africa looked like offering thoughout the day. Smith and Amla had survived one chance each, when fielders failed to hit the stumps. But this time, no direct hit was necessary. Boucher bounded from the non-striker's end when Rudolph worked Vettori to point, and Bracewell swooped and found Kruger van Wyk's gloves with his throw, to leave the visitors at 161 for 6. Dale Steyn succumbed soon after, with Taylor snaffling a rebound from Martin Guptill in the slips to leave his side much the happier of the two at stumps.

The day had begun so promisingly for South Africa after almost four hours were lost to rain, when Graeme Smith progressed untroubled to a 31st Test half-century. New Zealand's decision to insert the opposition on a slow, batsmen's track seemed like folly when hopeful, full lengths from Martin, Trent Boult and Tim Southee were punched through the line by Smith in particular.

Misjudgment on line, rather than significant movement removed Alviro Petersen for 11, but with Amla and Smith progressing smoothly, and the cloud cover expected to clear for the evening session, a large total beckoned. Smith was punishing on the leg side, when New Zealand's pacemen abandoned their hopes for swing and muscled it in short, and his flick off middle stump for four just prior to tea epitomised his command of conditions. But things were about to change, and quickly.

Edited by Nikita Bastian

Andrew Fernando writes for The Pigeon and has a column here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Craig on March 8, 2012, 0:07 GMT

    @ drnaveed - Yeah but compare that one series loss since Feb 2009 to the other top 5 teams and you will notice that SA hasnt lost a series in over 2 years unlike Oz (3-1 against Eng), India (4-0 against Oz and Eng) and England (3-0 against Pakistan).

    Those are also facts. So what is your point? I think the rankings are fairly accurate at the moment but the next 12 months will really show where every team is. England is still the best team in tests (overall - just) followed by SA, then Aus and Pakistan and India. Oz and Pakistan have the most potential to claim the number one spot in 2 years time.

  • Dummy4 on March 8, 2012, 0:02 GMT

    @jonesy2 yes we do including world class talent, steyn, morkel, phillander, tahir, kallis, de lange, fridel de wiet etc. Anyway who do u reckon has the best bowling attack in the world?

  • Hamish on March 7, 2012, 22:25 GMT

    Re: ReverseSweepIndia, it's probably a bit of a stretch to call Vettori the best all rounder of our times, or Martin the best bowler of our times, but we are very lucky to see such true greats in action.

  • Dean on March 7, 2012, 21:45 GMT

    This is probably the best NZL bowling attack I can remember and I've been watching cricket for 30 years, So I thought they would have the ability to bowl the saffers out for some quite low scores. Problem is the batting. Ross Taylor is the only batter who would get in to a top 4 team. As an Eng fan I hope the NZL batsmen prove me wrong and back up their bowlers, Brownlee looks a find shame he isn't fit!

  • John on March 7, 2012, 21:29 GMT

    NZ will obviously be the happier of the 2 sides and fair play to them for their fight back. NZ will obviously want to prove that the Aus 2nd test was them being good as much as Aus being bad. I will say to NZ fans not to count their chickens. There are 2 inns per side and SA have an awesome pace attack and their inns isn't over yet either.

  • vic tor on March 7, 2012, 21:06 GMT

    Guys, this is only the first day for God's sake. NZ won the first T20, and then didn't get a look-in to date. So let's not be hasty and jump over the moon. NZ have undoubtedly fared exceptionally well, and we all hope they mop up the tail without undue delay, and then bat well, and post in the region of 300-350. Then again, we have to see whether SA collapse again. We can expect that of India, Pakistan, SL, even England, but SA is another kettle of fish. If it does happen again, then kudos to NZ, and I am sure the whole world will be happy for them. But let's take one step at a time. Don't misunderstand me, I am all for the underdogs, and will be happy if NZ do well. Looking forward to the second day's play.

  • Mike on March 7, 2012, 20:13 GMT

    The SA tail is pretty useful. so they may be able to put another 50-100 runs on the end. A score of 250+ is defendable, and we should get at least parity in the first innings. Having said that, if Martin can get swing, then Steyn should be able to get SWING. And "McGrath" Philander is an unknown quantity to the Kiwis still.... So is Tahir. This is shaping into an interesting tussle!

  • Dummy4 on March 7, 2012, 19:53 GMT

    Awesome day from the boys but once again I read some comments and guys think that because we won one day out of five we have a shot at winning the series. Hate to be pesimistic but I still back SA to win quite easily. Really hope that isn't the case but seen it so many times from the Black Caps over the years where they show tons of potential then come crashing back down to earth and if anyone can do that to us SA can - Steyn and Co will be a massive handful but if we can get on top early with our batting as well we might have a chance. But then we got to bowl them out again and I doubt their big names will let that happen on a improving batting batting pitch. Hope they can step up and prove me wrong!!!

  • Mark on March 7, 2012, 19:32 GMT

    I agree with Kiwi Jake, come on Dunners put on a few bone chilling freezing cold windy days for us (with no rain of course). NZ need everything in their favour still to get a result here.

  • David on March 7, 2012, 19:31 GMT

    Fantastic start from NZ, but SA will probably fight back. Could people stop making pointless digs at one another. Sorry to sound so English, but it is just not cricket. Let's look forward to an exciting game.

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