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January 2, 2013
Tea South Africa 252 for 3 (Petersen 103*, Amla 66, Kallis 60) lead New Zealand 45 (Philander 5-7, Morkel 3-14) by 207 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
A wonderfully-crafted new-ball spell from Vernon Philander, which brought him five wickets in six overs, set the tone for a wholly embarrassing day for New Zealand as they careered to the third-lowest Test score in their history, and the lowest Test total since 1974, in a contest which wasted no time in giving the impression of a mismatch.
The New Zealand innings, undermined initially by Philander's excellence, but increasingly defeatist as it progressed, lasted only 19.2 overs as they were bowled out in the first session. Lunch was still 19 minutes away when Daniel Flynn made a hash of a pull at Dale Steyn to be the last man out, leaving New Zealand no nearer to finding a semblance of stability following the controversial sacking of Ross Taylor from the captaincy.
It was a gorgeous day at Newlands, and a capacity crowd soaked up the sunshine and relished the sight of South African domination.
South Africa lost their captain, Graeme Smith, in two overs leading up to lunch, but the mastery established by Philander was equally apparent with the bat. Alviro Petersen helped himself to a measured, unbeaten Test hundred to underline his growing maturity. Hashim Amla purred along much as he pleased against optimistically attacking fields, extending his repertoire on occasions as if to stave off boredom and making 66 from 74 balls, before he wandered blithely across his stumps against James Franklin and suffered for his presumption.
Statistical landmarks, though, fell elsewhere. Dale Steyn reached 300 Test wickets in his 61st Test before lunch and became the fourth South African to do so, following Shaun Pollock, Allan Donald and Makhaya Ntini. Then came another redoubtable figure, Jacques Kallis, who joined Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting and Rahul Dravid as makers of 13,000 Test runs. He briefly gorged himself on the New Zealand attack in the unconcerned manner of a king used to more exacting feats before departing with many potential courses left uneaten.
This has been one of the sorriest interludes in New Zealand cricket, with allegations of dishonesty and former players burning blazers, but when the real business - Test cricket - returned, matters became even worse as New Zealand were humbled by a mighty South Africa pace attack.
Philander's method was simple and clinical as he maintained impeccable accuracy and found just enough assistance to be persistently threatening. Martin Guptill, Dean Brownlie and BJ Watling edged to wicketkeeper or slips, New Zealand's brusque new captain, Brendon McCullum, was bowled off an inside edge trying to cover the outswing and Kane Williamson fell lbw after his recourse to DRS proved unsuccessful.
There was nothing manifestly disturbing about Philander, no trepidation caused by express pace or even lavish movement, but conditions were lively enough and he lulled a somewhat naïve New Zealand batting line-up into error, killing with kindness, a technician takinbg advantage of indeterminate footwork. It took South Africa a long time to recognise his subtle talents and he is making up for lost time.
He returned new-ball figures of 6-3-7-5, quite a feat for a bowler who had been doubtful for this Test after tweaking a hamstring a fortnight ago and who was described by Smith, his captain, on the eve of the Test as "provisionally fit". New Zealand will be provisionally judged to be out of their depth and the two-Test series will be provisionally held to be over.
All this delayed, if not entirely overshadowed, Steyn's move to 300 Test wickets. He went unrewarded in his opening spell while Philander wreaked havoc, but switched to the Wynberg End for his second spell and with his third ball bowled Doug Bracewell with a delivery that swung away to hit off stump.
The last thing New Zealand needed was a difficult decision at the toss, but that was what McCullum faced in his first Test in charge since the removal of Taylor. The pitch was green, if not especially so, and certainly not as green as the New Zealand batsmen. It would have been tempting for New Zealand captains of the old school to feel their way into the Test by having a bowl. Instead, McCullum took the assertive route, as is his style, and his team was found entirely wanting.
In cricketing terms, McCullum's decision was justifiable. There were enough cracks in a pitch dried out by the strong winds of recent days to dissuade McCullum from batting last and, if he looked upwards, he found a stunning Cape Town morning, with Table Mountain shimmering under cloudless blue skies. All they had to do was survive a session. Instead, Philander's lissom skills soon took their toll.
He had a wicket with the last ball of his first over, an outswinger edged by Guptill. There were two more wickets in his third over; a good-length ball caused McCullum to play on and Brownlie fell third ball for nought. It was a limp shot from Brownlie who was batting in Taylor's spot at No. 4 (a spot where Taylor made 142 and 74 in his last two Test innings, against Sri Lanka in Colombo), one that was hardly designed to fill New Zealand with a sense of feelgood.
Philander was unlikely to be given a long spell considering the creeping doubts about his fitness, but he made the most of his limited timespan. Williamson, after having the temerity to drive him down the ground, fell lbw to the last ball of his fourth over and BJ Watling fell to probably the best ball of the lot when the first delivery of his fifth over again found the edge. Morne Morkel preyed upon the tail.
Kallis and Steyn's historic moments will mean that much of the attention will rest upon them. But this is only Philander's third Test at Newlands and he already has 19 wickets at 9.73. He loves Test cricket and he loves nowhere more than Newlands.
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