New Zealand fight but still face huge defeat
New Zealand 157 for 4 (Brownlie 44*, Watling 41*) and 121 (Watling 63, Steyn 5-17) trail South Africa 525 for 8 dec by 247 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
It shows how low expectations have sunk when taking a Test into a fourth day classes as a success. New Zealand showed more fight after inevitably being asked to follow-on in Port Elizabeth, but still closed 247 adrift on 157 for 4. South Africa could not quite conjure the quick finish, instead it was left to the supporting cast of Robin Peterson and Rory Kleinveldt to make the inroads.
During the morning it had been Dale Steyn's show as he finished with 5 for 17, his 19th five-wicket haul, but he could not quite repeat his venom second time around. New Zealand managed their first opening stand of any value, albeit still only worth 40, and having weathered the early challenge from the quicks it will have been galling to lose two to Peterson before tea. Kleinveldt's two-in-two balls then set the platform for a three-day finish, but BJ Watling, following a first-innings 63, and Dean Brownlie added an unbroken 73 for the fifth wicket.
Kleinveldt's first success was Martin Guptill, who had been given out in the first over of the innings, as the openers faced four overs before lunch, but was easily saved by the DRS which showed Steyn's bouncer only took arm and helmet, with no glove, to the keeper. Guptill, who has been a walking wicket in whites since the tour of Sri Lanka, did not suggest permanency early in his innings but steadily grew in confidence as he survived the initial spells of Steyn and Morne Morkel.
He was given the occasional leg-side delivery to relieve the pressure and his straight-driving, often on show in limited-overs cricket, made a pleasing appearance. Graeme Smith reviewed an lbw appeal by Kleinveldt which was shown to have jagged back too much and was only clipping, then Guptill responded by crashing the next ball through the off side.
However, when Kleinveldt returned for his second spell he won the battle. His third ball caught Guptill on the back foot and took the top of off stump. The batsman suggested the delivery had kept low, but he was let down by his footwork. The same can be said of Daniel Flynn who played a flat-footed drive to complete a desperate pair. He will be very lucky to retain his place, despite New Zealand's slim resources.
Guptill had been the main run-scorer early on because Brendon McCullum played another innings contrary to his natural instincts, this time so much so that he dug himself into a hole. Clearly the captain feels under pressure not to gift his wicket, and that is understandable, but he has yet to define what sort of batsman he will be while also leading the side.
His 11 off 57 balls was his slowest Test innings over 10 (nudging ahead of his first-innings effort here) and was ended when he missed a straight delivery from Peterson which struck the back leg. Peterson settled into a probing, economical spell which allowed Smith to rotate his fast bowlers in short bursts. In the penultimate over of the session a ball skidded low and took the under-edge of Kane Williamson's cut shot into the stumps.
While New Zealand's top four have, on the whole, struggled painfully over these two Tests, Brownlie and Watling will emerge with their reputations enhanced. Brownlie showed the same counter-punching style he displayed at Newlands and Watling was quick to pick off anything loose, although also escaped with two edges off Kleinveldt - one went through the slips, the other off the inside edge past the keeper. Their resistance led to Smith bringing himself and Alviro Petersen on for rare overs as the day finished amid loud renditions of the national anthem but a slightly more sedate feel on the pitch.
During the morning New Zealand appeared to be hurtling towards another double-figure embarrassment as Steyn ripped through the lower order. However, Watling and Trent Boult added 59 for the last wicket, just three less than the other nine wickets beforehand.
Resuming on 47 for 6, which soon became 62 for 9, Steyn helped himself to a cheap haul. Doug Bracewell and Neil Wagner received testing, swinging, deliveries but Jeetan Patel again showed no stomach for the battle as he backed away to the leg side. That was too easy for Steyn.
Watling stood tall amid the wreckage during a 75-ball half-century and Boult provided unexpected support at No. 11. In the main, Boult at least tried to stay in line and hammered a straight six down the ground which resulted in a smashed window. It is about the only significant damage New Zealand have caused in this series.
Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo