New Zealand fight to stay in the hunt
The second day began by following a similar manic pace to yesterday as wickets tumbled, including eight before lunch. But only one batsman slipped during the afternoon session as New Zealand edged in front, before the final portion of the day included three scalps for a relieved Graeme Smith, who won't want to chase much more than 200 in the last innings.
When Jamie How and Michael Papps fell before lunch, New Zealand were 40 for 2, still 27 behind, and a two-day finish was a distinct possibility. Stephen Fleming weathered the early passage of the afternoon session, after taking a painful blow on the hip at the start of his innings, but fell to a flashy drive against Jacques Kallis.
For Kallis it was a special moment, joining Sir Garfield Sobers as only the second man to score 8000 runs and take 200 wickets in Tests. Kallis's celebration of the wicket was more exuberant than usual as he crossed another milestone in his career.
South Africa, though, found wickets harder to come by as Styris and Astle mixed authentic strokes with a fair amount of wafting. The slips cordon was always on its toes, but Smith was forced into a slightly more defensive mode as edges flew wide of fielders rather than to hand. Astle refused to shelve his attacking instincts and it was a high-risk strategy, but for over an hour he flourished. Styris was more circumspect, and was regularly beaten by late away movement, but hung during a vital stand of 76, by far New Zealand's best of the match.
Both sides have had their share of rough decisions in recent times and New Zealand suffered again when Brendon McCullum was sent on his way by Asoka de Silva, with Pollock squeezing a delivery between bat and pad. Jacob Oram and Daniel Vettori managed to negotiate the remaining time, before an impending thunderstorm halted play, and they showed that batting is slightly easier against an older ball.
South Africa's first-innings demise had been caused by incisive spells from Martin and James Franklin during an action-packed first hour. Franklin dispatched de Villiers and Mark Boucher - a rough lbw decision - while Martin clocked up impressive speed and extracted extravagant lift off the pitch.
Martin pinned Ashwell Prince back in the crease before sending a delivery slightly wider, which Prince pushed at with little footwork, and Andrew Hall was also far from happy when he was adjudged in front. At 145 for 8, Pollock realised there was not much point in hanging around and signalled his intent by charging down the track and planting Franklin onto the grass bank. Ntini helped to add 25 runs - worth at least twice as many in the conditions - and Pollock hooked Franklin over deep square-leg in an over that cost 15.
The significance of Pollock's 20-ball cameo grew as New Zealand's openers again fell cheaply. Steyn trapped How with a peach of a delivery that straightened onto middle and Papps joined the procession of batsmen edging behind the wicket. Four sessions had brought 22 wickets and South Africa were sensing a quick kill. However, both sides then traded equal blows and the outcome of this series is still up for grabs.
South Africa - overnight 133 for 4
AB de Villiers c Styris b Franklin 2 (139 for 5)
Pushed away from body, thick edge to second slip
Mark Boucher lbw b Franklin 0 (139 for 6)
Jagged back, pitched outside leg, too high
Ashwell Prince c McCullum b Martin 4 (139 for 7)
Pushing away from his body, outside edge
Andrew Hall lbw b Martin 5 (145 for 8)
Nipped back, doubt over the height
Dale Steyn b Martin 0 (161 for 9)
Beaten for pace
Makhaya Ntini c McCullum b Mills (186 all out)
Jamie How lbw b Steyn 4 (9 for 1)
Ball straightened, taking out middle and off
Michael Papps c Hall b Kallis 15 (40 for 2)
Squared-up, edge to second slip
Stephen Fleming c de Villiers b Kallis 37 (82 for 3)
Expansive drive to second slip
Nathan Astle c Boucher b Steyn 45 (158 for 4)
Nicked a full, swinging delivery with no footwork
Scott Styris c and b Steyn 42 (177 for 5)
Top-edged an ambitious pull
Brendon McCullum c Boucher b Pollock 5 (190 for 6)
Between bat and pad, clipped pad flap, no inside edge
Andrew McGlashan is editorial assistant of Cricinfo