First Test Match

South Africa v New Zealand, 2000-01

Toss: South Africa. Test debuts: C. S. Martin, B. G. K. Walker.

New Zealand's injury-inflicted predicament was amply illustrated by the record of the respective pace attacks. Chris Martin was making his debut and Tuffey playing in his second Test; only O'Connor had taken wickets in a Test match. Donald and Pollock, on the other hand, had 483 between them, with Donald in his 63rd Test needing only three more to become the first South African to 300 Test wickets.

It was not the time for the tourists to discover Kallis at the top of his form. Having Dippenaar caught at second slip off the second ball of the match lost all significance as Kallis blunted then battered bowlers who betrayed their inexperience by ignoring the basic disciplines. His seventh Test hundred, a Test-highest 160 from 289 balls, contained 26 fours and, particularly on the opening day, he was given too much width. McKenzie scored a maiden Test fifty after aiding Kallis in a century partnership. Although New Zealand broke through next morning, Boucher and Boje consolidated South Africa's position by adding 79 in 68 minutes.

New Zealand began the third day needing another 218 to avoid the follow-on, with eight wickets in hand. Fleming organised the resistance with a solid fifty, but from his dismissal, undone by Boje's sharp turn, his side lost their last seven wickets for 78. Walker and O'Connor held firm for 22 overs before Donald, who had captured his 299th wicket just before lunch when McMillan was caught behind, took the new ball and, with his sixth delivery, had O'Connor lbw. An appreciative home-town crowd and a three-gun salute from an armoured car near the boundary greeted the 300th wicket.

With the pitch playing slower and lower, New Zealand made a better fist of their second innings. Richardson's good technique and excellent judgment launched the fight for survival; he batted 63 overs for his 77. Fleming reached 50 for the 28th time in Tests, only to fall one short of a third Test hundred. When 98, with an hour's play remaining and New Zealand ahead for the first time in the match, he accepted the offer of bad light. But play resumed 23 minutes later, and Fleming had added just one run when Donald produced an explosive delivery he could only fend to gully. Next morning, Kallis's slower ball ended McMillan's 67-over stay, and straight after lunch Ntini took three wickets in three overs to complete Test-best figures of six for 66 - deserved reward for unstinting fast bowling in thankless conditions.

South Africa needed 101 for victory, with time no object. It should have been a formality; it could have been an embarrassment. They somehow contrived to lose five wickets by the final session before Boucher, sweeping three successive balls from leg-spinner Brooke Walker for four, completed South Africa's win.

Men of the Match: J. H. Kallis and M. Ntini.

© John Wisden & Co