New Zealand v South Africa, 2nd Test, Hamilton, 1st day March 14, 2012

Steyn, Philander trigger dramatic slide


South Africa 27 for 2 (Smith 13, Martin 18-2) trail New Zealand 185 (McCullum 61, Philander 4-70, Steyn 3-49) by 158 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

A catastrophic collapse - that surrendered five wickets with score stuck on 133 - swung the match emphatically in favour of South Africa, as they dismissed New Zealand for 185 on a rain-shortened day one in Hamilton. But the hosts also struck with ball, dismissing Graeme Smith and nightwatchman Dale Steyn before stumps, to leave South Africa at 27 for 2. The rain delay, which came early in the second session, allowed only 72.2 overs to be bowled in the day.

New Zealand's capitulation came after an 89-run stand between Brendon McCullum and Ross Taylor, during which the hosts progressed steadily on a pitch that offered little to seam bowlers. Dale Steyn led the mid-innings assault, ambushing McCullum with a short ball and a deep square leg, before taking the shoulder of Kane Williamson's bat with another sharp bouncer in the next over. Vernon Philander then charged through to flatten the middle order, felling Taylor, Daniel Vettori and Doug Bracewell in seven balls.

McCullum had brought up his half-century with a six over vacant square leg, but did not shelve the stroke when Graeme Smith appointed a fielder in the deep, with South Africa having persisted with the short length for much of the innings. Having chided himself for attempting to pull a short Steyn delivery in the previous over, McCullum attempted the stroke again - this time to one that had risen well over his head, taking the top edge. If he was disappointed at once again having squandered a start, his mood can't have been improved by the clatter of wickets that followed.

Taylor drove at one that was too short for the stroke, giving Graeme Smith a simple catch at second slip. In the first innings of the first Test, too, he'd departed soon after McCullum, after the pair had got themselves in. Williamson, Vettori and Bracewell then strolled in and were all on their way out again, without having scored a run - Williamson was caught at slip, Vettori was bowled by one that nipped back and Bracewell edged behind. After having been a healthy 133 for 2 in the 49th over, New Zealand had plunged to an appalling 133 for 7 in the 52nd.

Mark Gillespie and Kruger van Wyk played their shots following the slide, pushing their side quickly towards 200, but the pair could not maintain the resistance for long. Morne Morkel trapped van Wyk in front of the stumps, before Imran Tahir had Gillespie caught brilliantly by Alviro Petersen at midwicket. When Brent Arnel perished in Tahir's following over, New Zealand had gifted South Africa a mountain of momentum and the chance to bat on a quickly flattening pitch.

The pull stroke had been productive for McCullum before his demise, as South Africa seemed intent to attack via the short ball once the movement they'd anticipated at the toss failed to materialise past the first hour. He had been floored by Steyn earlier in the day, but held firm against the bounce thereafter - he blunted the bounce off the back foot when it rose to his chest, and picked up singles through a sparse on-side field when the ball was pitched slightly fuller.

Taylor favoured the cut meanwhile, climbing over the ball to hit it square, while also scoring straight when the change-up was delivered. Two commanding drives off Philander in the first over of a rain-curtailed second session betrayed the friendliness of the surface, as well as Taylor's own good form, as he and McCullum rebuilt steadily following the loss of the openers. The pair resumed in a similar vein following the weather interruption, and were rarely flustered by South Africa in the hour after the break, but both then fell in quick succession to leave the hosts tottering. South Africa then pounced to expose a long New Zealand tail.

Kruger van Wyk had to wait until his second match to bag his first dismissal, but when the chance came, his reactions were spectacular. Wrong footed by Smith who went for a booming cover drive to a wide Chris Martin delivery, van Wyk changed direction and dived low to his right to snaffle the inside edge, centimetres from the turf. van Wyk and Martin combined again to dismiss Steyn, and though South Africa's middle order will relish the prospect of batting on the flat surface on day two, the double-strike will keep New Zealand in the match - if only just.

Andrew Fernando writes for The Pigeon and has a column here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • manoj on March 15, 2012, 23:54 GMT

    Being a neutral observer I sure hope the Kiwis can make a match out of it this time! Would be great for test cricket.

  • Dummy4 on March 15, 2012, 23:06 GMT

    man all the Black Cap bashers in here is disappointing. Especially since it it seems to be coming from Kiwis. Has anyone taken a look at the score now and thought "Maybe I was being a little too harsh"?. Gillespie = Stephen Donald of the Black Caps. Go you good thing, go.....

  • Dummy4 on March 15, 2012, 21:44 GMT

    SA are just a top team and we are well below average..... Simple as that. Can't beleive the way McCullum and Taylor got out. I hate reading these comments from SA supporters but that is because most of them are right! I accept being beaten by a better team as that is sport, someone has to lose, but being beaten in the way we are is embarrassing. No application, no brains, poor technique, rush of blood to the head, whatever..... Ever since Iv'e been following cricket (for 25 years) and supporting my national team it's just been full of embarrassment, going back to the drawering board, excuses, constant injuries to top players, players retiring too early, poor slections, discontent in the ranks, selecting sub-par players (Nicol / Arnel) as there is no one else. Looking foward to the ENG / SA series so I don't have to put up with the Black Caps. Worst part for me is the way they were talking themselves up after beating the minnows of minnows - Zim - At least that team has an excuse!

  • Jan on March 15, 2012, 19:15 GMT

    Gee, how I miss Stephen Fleming mocking Graeme Smith's celebration in the slips. Gosh, where's Southee mouthing off when he gets a wicket. Darnit, shouldn't Mills be picking a fight with someone for making a human mistake right now. I'm thoroughly enjoying the team with the worst winning spirit in the world getting taught a cricketing lesson in their own backyard. The Proteas lose at the worst times, but at least take it graciously. And when they win, they acknowledge good cricket from the opposition. Unlike the Kiwis. And to Kruger van Wyk, and Kieswetter, and Pietersen, and Trott, and the rest of the mercenaries: forget any oblique excuses about race, fellas. You'll always know you simply weren't good enough to make a pretty good team.

  • Steven on March 15, 2012, 15:12 GMT

    I have been avoiding cricinfo for most of the day after seeing what happened overnight (I'm in the UK). Last I checked we were cruising at 120/2, and things were looking good for the Black Caps. All credit to SA to fight back and knock us over, well bowled...I'm happy to see a few SA supporters are not getting to ahead of themselves though as you still have to bat, and the conditions might just offer something to the NZ medium pacers. To the other SA supporters who are already talking like you have 400 on the board, or the cry baby NZ supporters saying we don't deserve to be playing in the top grade...just bite your tongue, there is plenty of cricket to come in this game. We do have the batsmen to get the job done in the side; they're just not doing it! No point trying anything new, just keep training the talent we have, most of which are young and will learn. No cricket for 6 months isn't going to help though!!!

  • Dummy4 on March 15, 2012, 15:09 GMT

    proteas are a top side there are up with the best at present .

  • s on March 15, 2012, 12:42 GMT

    as long as AB is in the team SA will always win!!

  • Shulz Van on March 15, 2012, 12:05 GMT

    SA have the best test teams in the world.....The no1 and no2 test teams .....They do know how to produce.

  • Matt on March 15, 2012, 11:19 GMT

    Gee guys, a little quick on the trigger there... What the NZ top 5 needs is a bit of stability... Not everytime they fail they make changes... Agreed that when Brownlie is fit again he should come back in and Nicol be dropped (mcCullum back to open) but That top 5 is the best top 5 we have in the country (Guptill, McCullum, Taylor, Brownlie, Williamson)... No one else deserves to be there more than these guys.. In reality, New Zealand never has been the best test team in the world and probably never will be, we have had a few patches over the years when we competed against the best... If anyone is expecting us to beat this Sth African team (2nd best team in test cricket), then of course they will be disappointed when we don't... But saying we are a disgrace is ridiculous.. I for one will still be cheering us on as Sth Africa are 27/2, and the test still has 4 days to run...

  • Randolph on March 15, 2012, 11:13 GMT

    Congrats South Africa. It is truly amazing how good you are considering how much talent has been poached from your ranks by the ECB.

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