New Zealand v South Africa, 3rd Test, Wellington, 1st day March 23, 2012

South Africa solid on stop-start day


South Africa 136 for 2 (Amla 63, Petersen 44*, Duminy 23*) v New Zealand
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

A fluent 63 from Hashim Amla eased South Africa to 136 for 2 at stumps, after a wet outfield in the morning and poor light late in the day only allowed 42 overs to be bowled. Ross Taylor chose to field on a green surface expected to seam, but although Graeme Smith was removed by one that jagged off the pitch, New Zealand struggled to achieve pronounced movement for extended periods, with spinner Daniel Vettori called on to contribute more than a quarter of the hosts' overs. Alviro Petersen played a restrained knock to end the day in sight of his first half-century of the series, while JP Duminy, who replaced an injured Jacques Kallis, was unbeaten on 23.

Amla was gifted a leg-glance to the fine-leg fence to ease him into his innings, but it wasn't long before the offside repertoire was humming happily as well. A back-foot stroke through the covers was more unwound, than punched or played, while two cuts either side of point disappeared to the boundary before the fielder had budged, much less moved, to intercept the shot. He was beaten soundly twice on the inside edge, but didn't allow either ball to dent his positivity, dispatching Dean Brownlie for three commanding boundaries in the same over he went past 50.

But the languid nature of Amla's strokeplay was increasingly matched by the slowness of his movement in the middle - perhaps hampered by a ball he'd edged onto his groin early on - and he perished playing an uncharacteristically flat-footed pull off Mark Gillespie soon after tea.

Alviro Petersen was reserved in comparison, often finding sprightly fielders when he played full-blooded shots, but content to defend nonetheless. He had struggled with the ball that came into him, falling to it thrice in four innings so far in the series, but navigated Chris Martin's inswingers with more poise on this occasion, dabbing it straight against the early movement. He charged Daniel Vettori to loft him over the ropes before leaning back to blast him through square leg as tea approached, but they were rare shows of violence in a dour display.

New Zealand had started well through Martin and Doug Bracewell, but waned in threat as the movement steadily gave out despite their discipline. Gillespie could find neither the direction nor the pace that decimated South Africa's middle order in the first innings in Hamilton, and was lucky to claim Amla with a short, wide ball. That wicket breathed some edge into the New Zealand attack in the nine overs after tea, but Duminy only helped himself to some quick runs into the vacant outfield with the bowlers attacking.

Early in the day's play, New Zealand's first wicket was marred somewhat by controversy. Martin beat Smith's outside edge repeatedly with movement in the air and off the pitch, but it was the other edge that brought the batsman's demise, even though Smith felt he had not made contact. Aleem Dar and New Zealand were convinced ball brushed the willow when Bracewell brought one in past Smith's cover drive, but despite a review from the batsman, and Hot Spot showing nothing, Dar's decision was upheld.

Andrew Fernando writes for The Pigeon and has a column here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • bhanu on March 23, 2012, 23:50 GMT

    I like NZ very much, but it is not a good place to play cricket. Most of the games played here are interrupted at different times because of rain. It is better if they start building indoor stadiums.

  • Dummy4 on March 23, 2012, 23:05 GMT

    Really feel that the first 20 overs of the next session will be vital for the outcome of this test. Also it's not winter in Wellington its just always a bit murky down in the capital

  • Phil on March 23, 2012, 23:04 GMT

    @Jason Superjase du Toit & @Blake Tindale cannot agree on whether Smith edged it or not. This presumably after watching umpteen TV replays, so it can't be obvious one way or the other. As for DRS, it's working how it should - the umpires make the decision and use technology to assist them. I don't imagine hotspot is 100% accurate (not very much is is!) nor claimed to be.

  • Robin on March 23, 2012, 16:58 GMT

    One questoion - how in hell's name does Doctrove stay on the umpires list? He is truly awful!

  • greig on March 23, 2012, 14:47 GMT

    Ok, let's get a few facts clear. All the kiwi commentators say Smith was not out, these guys are ex professionals. Ball was miles from the bat and not hotspot mark. Technology is not to blame here, outrageous human error is at fault. Don't get me started on Amla's no ball dismissal. The point is that DRS has been fantastic for righting all the wrongs and I don't want to be like the Indian cricket administrators and live in the stone age by not using it. Remember the Oz vs SA test series, so many bad decisions where rightly changed. Nevertheless it will be a cracking test match to come and Doctrove, you've got some questions to answer!

    PS. Is it winter in NZ?

  • Dummy4 on March 23, 2012, 13:43 GMT

    Regarding the criticism of Philander, I was at one time a detractor too! But in all honesty, this guy has grown tremendously! Makes bowling look easy now! Good run up;bowls wicket to wicket; nice upright seam; delivers ball from high up with straight arm; often hits the 'spot of uncertainty'; physically strong. These attributes will only stand him in good stead, whether in seaming conditions or the subcontinent! All I can, with Philander's approach to bowling as it is now, he'll be taking lots of wickets! So this notion that he'll be taken apart on the subcontinent is a figment of the imagination! Let's give Philander his due! I as an ex-detractor personally wish Philander well! I just cannot wait to see a fine-tuned Marchand de Lange who I think is gonna dent many a helmet, even on the subcontinent!

  • Sifiso on March 23, 2012, 12:16 GMT

    I guess Lady Luck was just not on SA's side today, because the two "out" decisions could as easily have not been given in any other day. Good batting from the the lads especially Smith and Amla so far in the series...

    I guess people can critise Smith's technique as much as they like, but it gets the job done...Leading run scorer in this series so far and just nailed 8000 test runs, the second highest test run getter for SA after Kallis... still at an ave of around 50... so I say let the man play cricket the best way he knows how. It works for him and honestly our country's cricket more often than not... and sure he's working on the flaws...

  • Dummy4 on March 23, 2012, 11:14 GMT

    @blake. the sound came when the ball was nowhere near the bat. hotspot showed no touch. the ball deviated not one bit. at no point can the bat be seen to be touching the ball. how that can be given out, i don't know.

    amla's decision just as boggling. bowler's foot clearly touching the return crease and yet a noball is not given?

    doctrove needs a pair of glasses.

  • Dummy4 on March 23, 2012, 11:09 GMT

    Graeme Smith was not out!!!!! we do not see any kind of edge on the bat..... he was given out on the basis of sound of a nick!!! If sound has to be taken as a medium of DRS why technologies like hotspot was introduced in cricket???????

  • Sean on March 23, 2012, 10:28 GMT

    @GSRI - SA's attack going to be smacked all over the park??? what like the last game???....hate to break the news to you but SA HAVE the best attck in the world FACT and not sure who you support INDIA or SL but neither especially INDIA are worth commenting on at the moment. Its amazing how much hate there is for just good players such as PHILANDER, GIVE CREDIT WHEN DUE, HE WILL RIP THROUGH YOUR TEAM ON CURRENT FORM!!!!

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