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

Dunedin's bowling crease, and sawdust in the outfield

ESPNcricinfo presents the Plays of the Day from the first day of the first Test between New Zealand and South Africa, in Dunedin

New Zealand find an extra fielder
Batsmen are told to play straight as often as possible. The hitch is that if you play too straight you may end up hitting the stumps at the bowler's end, or your partner. Jacques Rudolph avoided both with a straight drive, but found another obstruction: sawdust. His shot off a full ball from Doug Bracewell in the 39th over seemed destined for the boundary before a pile of sawdust, on the field to assist bowlers and fielders in dealing with the wet conditions, slowed the ball up, and kept the scoring to two runs.

Dunedin's bowling crease stars again
In the last Test at the University Oval, two-and-a-half-years ago, Mohammad Asif reviewed a not-out lbw decision only to find he had overstepped. Eerily, the same thing happened to Doug Bracewell today, when Jacques Rudolph was proven by technology to be lbw but Bracewell's foot was found to be over the line. In 2009, Pakistan had been docked a review, leading to questions about the DRS and a change in the rules which meant New Zealand kept their two reviews after Bracewell's no-ball. It was the third time in Bracewell's short career that he had been denied a wicket after replays showed he had overstepped: in his debut Test, he had Regis Chakabva lbw and in Hobart he bowled Michael Clarke, but on both occasions the umpire went upstairs to check for the no-ball, to Bracewell's detriment. The delivery was Bracewell's 13th no-ball in his sixth Test, and it was the only wide or no-ball on the day.

Near run-outs of the day
South Africa faced more danger from the fielders than they did from the bowlers in the first session. Graeme Smith could have been run out when he took on Daniel Vettori's arm, running two after pulling to deep square leg. Vettori collected, changed hands and threw the ball in. Smith did not appear in any great hurry to make his ground but a direct hit, or quicker work from keeper Kruger van Wyk, would have seen Smith run out. Hashim Amla was in danger when Smith called him through for a streaky single. Doug Bracewell had only one stump to aim at and missed by a whisker; Amla would have been well short had he hit.

Working over of the day
New Zealand started the second session as they would have liked to start the first, with Chris Martin showing his ability to trouble left-handers. With the wind behind him, Martin angled the first ball after tea across Smith, forcing him to play on the off side. The next two deliveries were straighter and beat the bat, the second one hitting Smith on the body. Smith was obviously disturbed and walked almost to square leg to collect his thoughts. When he came back he was beaten again by one that moved across him. After four testing deliveries, Smith had had enough and tamely sent the fifth ball of the over - a wider and fuller delivery - the way of Rob Nicol at cover. Martin went on to take wickets with the first two balls of his next over.

Outfit of the day
The sizeable crowd who came into the University Oval found creative ways to stay warm, which included blankets to cover their legs and full body-suits with hoodies. The best outfit of the day belonged to five spectators who donned black capes and carried staffs. They were kitted out to resembe the ringwraiths from the Lord of the Rings movie, which was shot in New Zealand.

Edited by Dustin Silgardo

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on March 7, 2012, 23:19 GMT

    South Africa are facing 'The Phantom Menace' :P

  • dummy4fb on March 7, 2012, 12:50 GMT

    New Zealand should look out for new bowling talents to support Martin and Vettori. Their Batting will click, if their bowlers dismiss for low/medium score.

    @sandy. Martin has been one of graceful bowlers to ever play cricket. It is no doubt that his running action looks like a BMW rolling on streets.

  • sandy_bangalore on March 7, 2012, 10:41 GMT

    Never knew Chris Martin running in would be such a beautiful sight for a cricket lover!

  • dummy4fb on March 7, 2012, 9:46 GMT

    Newzeland a force to rekenon with in home conditions.Today is no difference.

  • nzcricket174 on March 7, 2012, 9:39 GMT

    Those ringwraiths were of course students!

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