South Africa v New Zealand, 1st Test, Centurion Park, 1st day April 15, 2006

Mills and Franklin edge it for New Zealand

South Africa 266 for 8 (Boje 20*, Steyn 8*) v New Zealand
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
How they were out

Graeme Smith battled before falling for 45 on a tough day for South Africa's batsmen © AFP
The opening day of this series turned into a nip-and-tuck battle between two sides aiming to consolidate mid-table respectability in the Test rankings. In the final reckoning New Zealand sneaked the points after four wickets for Kyle Mills and three for James Franklin, although they were balanced out by some gusty batting from South Africa on a surface that offered encouragement for the seamers.

New Zealand's attack was impressive, especially in the way they overcame the loss of Shane Bond to yet another injury before the match, but South Africa's total could yet prove to be about par - the judgment will have to reserved until the Kiwis begin their reply. Given the way that Mills and Chris Martin got the second new ball to bounce and move the New Zealand top order will not have an easy time.

However, Stephen Fleming could not have asked for much more from his bowlers after Graeme Smith opted to bat. The opening overs were well directed from Mills and Franklin, but South Africa weathered the early passage of play and would have been highly satisfied with their lunchtime loss of just the one wicket. Smith and Boeta Dippenaar had settled into their roles and begun to locate the boundary as the New Zealanders appeared low on firepower without Bond.

Franklin changed the complexion of proceedings shortly after the interval when he removed Smith in a manner that won't surprise anyone - falling across a straight ball. Smith's dismissal continued his run without a half-century and, once again, he had done the hardwork before failing to press on. This would also become the story of South Africa's day - batsmen and partnerships being terminated each time one threatened to develop. The first seven stands all reached double figures but none exceeded the 79 of Smith and Dippenaar.

Jacques Kallis made 38 in the first innings of his 100th Test © AFP
Mills, who would have been the likely seamer to miss out if Bond had played, turned one person's bad luck in another's fortune with two further strikes during the afternoon session. Dippenaar's pleasing half-century - studded with ten crisp boundaries - was ended by a limp pull then Ashwell Prince was undone by some extra bounce. That double blow left South Africa in a familiar position - relying on Jacques Kallis to steady the innings, something he is used to after 100 Tests.

He needed a pain-killing injection into his troublesome elbow shortly after arriving at the crease, and with South Africa's batting currently as creaky as Kallis' elbow this was the crucial passage of play. He was struck on the helmet by Martin, but at the beginning of the final session crunched a series of powerful fours square of the wicket before Franklin made a timely intervention for New Zealand.

With Kallis's bat growing broader by the minute it was going to take something special to dislodge him and right on cue Franklin pulled out a stunning yorker. The Kiwis' smiles grew wider when Franklin produced another peach to take de Villiers' off stump.

But this South African side certainly doesn't give in easily. Even against Australia they fought every inch of the way and the lower order again played a vital role. Mark Boucher fell to a sharp piece of teamwork in the slips after a fast edge flew off the hands of third and Fleming clung onto the rebound at first. Shaun Pollock and Nicky Boje used the extra pace of the second new ball to strike some meaty boundaries and Dale Steyn, recalled in place of Andre Nel, unfurled a brace of legside flicks that belied his position at No. 10.

New Zealand will be pleased with their tally of eight wickets, especially after their morning effort had produced a solitary scalp. Mills began his day by cleaning up Herschelle Gibbs in a manner that it is becoming an unwanted trademark. Gibbs had been returned to his traditional opening slot but the lack of footwork that haunted him against Australia was still evident and he heard the familiar rattle of timber. New Zealand continued to make life tough throughout but, after scrapping against the best for most of the summer, South Africa won't give this up with a fight.

How they were out

Herschelle Gibbs b Mills 6 (21 for 1)
Nipped back between bat and pad

Graeme Smith lbw b Franklin 45 (95 for 2)
Played around a straight ball

Boeta Dippenaar c Fulton b Mills (118 for 3)
Pulled to midwicket

Ashwell Price c Styris b Mills 9 (130 for 4)
Extra bounce, fended to second slip

Jacques Kallis b Franklin 38 (177 for 5)
Superb yorker, crashed into base of middle

AB de Villiers b Franklin 27 (197 for 6)
Pitched, left him, took off stump

Mark Boucher c Fleming b Martin 18 (229 for 7)
Parried by third slip, held low by first

Shaun Pollock c Styris b Mills 24 (233 for 8)
Edged an outswinger that lifted to second slip

Andrew McGlashan is editorial assistant of Cricinfo