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1st Test, Mount Maunganui, February 04 - 07, 2024, South Africa tour of New Zealand
511 & 179/4d
(T:529) 162 & 247

New Zealand won by 281 runs

Player Of The Match
240 & 2/16

Ravindra 240 and Jamieson's burst make it NZ's day

Hosts take command of first Test with South Africa still trailing by 431 runs

Ashish Pant
Rachin Ravindra smashed his maiden Test double century in just his seventh innings  •  Getty Images

Rachin Ravindra smashed his maiden Test double century in just his seventh innings  •  Getty Images

South Africa 80 for 4 (Bedingham 29*, Moore 23, Jamieson 2-21) trail New Zealand 511 (Ravindra 240, Williamson 118, Brand 6-119, de Swardt 2-61) by 431 runs
Coming into the Mount Maunganui Test, Rachin Ravindra had never batted in the top six in Test cricket and had all of 73 runs in six innings at 14.60. In just one innings here, the left-hander has more than tripled his numbers on both counts. Given the all-important No. 4 slot, Ravindra cashed in scoring a sparkling 240 to help New Zealand extend their dominance over South Africa on day two of the first Test.
South Africa captain and debutant Neil Brand finished with figures of 6 for 119, but Ravindra's double on the back of Kane Williamson's 118 helped New Zealand amass 511 in their first innings. Kyle Jamieson struck twice as South Africa ended the second day 80 for 4 still trailing the hosts by a massive 431 runs.
Resuming their day on 258 for 2, New Zealand lost Williamson early, but Ravindra continued from where he left on day one. With the second new ball just six overs old, South Africa surprisingly did not go with Tshepo Moreki first up on the second day, instead starting with allrounder Ruan de Swardt and Dane Paterson.
Paterson got the wobble seam going his way and induced an edge off Ravindra's blade with just his second ball but there was no third slip in place to take the catch. Williamson got his first boundary of the day with a thick edge past gully but failed to carry on. Looking to unsettle de Swardt's consistent wicket-to-wicket lines, he eyed an uncharacteristic cross-batted hoick, but all he could manage was a top edge that ballooned straight up with Moreki taking the catch at mid-on. That ended a 232-run association between Williamson and Ravindra off 472 balls.
Having been padded up for ages, Mitchell immediately got going with a full-blooded lofted drive past mid-on. Moreki didn't have the same kind of nip that he found on day one and was pulled stylishly by Ravindra through midwicket. Duanne Olivier was handed similar treatment before two delicious straight drives helped Ravindra breach the 150 mark in Tests for the first time.
Having played circumspect cricket for about four sessions, New Zealand notched up a gear after lunch. Ravindra got his second session underway with a delightful drive past mid-off off de Swardt while Mitchell pulled Dane Paterson with disdain through square leg.
Mitchell lofted de Swardt for a straight six but fell soon after courtesy of a stunning caught and bowled by Neil Brand. Mitchell pummeled a tossed-up length ball back but Brand stuck out both hands to his left and plucked out a quite spectacular take much to the shock of Mitchell.
Tom Blundell came in and struck a four but soon mistimed a heave to short midwicket who took a low catch. Meanwhile, it was a nervous wait for Ravindra on 199. With Blundell falling and Glenn Phillips not able to hand him back the strike, the youngster had to endure close to 20 minutes on the score and go through a drinks break as well.
Ravindra finally reached the milestone by cutting a short-of-a-length ball towards cover as he removed his helmet to soak up the applause. With the double-hundred checked, Ravindra and Phillips decided to go into overdrive adding a 82-run stand off just 71 balls for the sixth wicket.
Ravindra notched up the highest score by a New Zealand batter for his maiden Test century when he went past Matthew Sinclair's 214 but fell minutes before tea cleaned up by Brand for 240. South Africa struck four times in the session, but New Zealand had added 145 runs in 27 overs going at over five an over.
New Zealand came looking for some quick runs in the final session and Matt Henry provided that by smashing one four and three sixes in his nine-ball 27. Brand, however, picked the last three wickets first going through Mitchell Santner's defences and then taking out Henry and Tim Southee in one over to become the first South African spinner to bag a six-for on Test debut.
In reply, the South African openers, Brand and Edward Moore, both on debut, held their own for nine overs and a bit. Moore got going with a fierce cut off Southee through point before repeating the shot for a similar result. Brand was more solid in defense getting right behind the line of the ball.
Jamieson, however, came on and changed the face of the match. He first sent back Brand with a fuller delivery that threatened to come back in but held its line. Brand, unsure whether to play or leave the delivery fathered a tiny edge to the wicketkeeper. Two balls later debutant Raynard van Tonder was trapped right in front of the stumps by a Jamieson inswinger. Henry then got rid of Moore with a snorter that he could only glove to Conway who rushed in from cover-point to dive and complete a stunning catch as South Africa slipped to 30 for 3 after 15 overs.
David Bedingham and Zubayr Hamza, however, took the attack to the opposition. Hamza first struck Henry for two successive fours before Bedingham cracked Southee for three fours in the next over. Bedingham was dropped by Henry at deep backward square leg but barring that looked largely untroubled. The duo added 44 off 53 balls for the fourth wicket before Hamza was castled by Santner.
At the end of play on the second day, Bedingham had reached 29 off 39 balls with five fours to his name and had Keegan Peterson for company on 2.

Ashish Pant is a sub-editor with ESPNcricinfo

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