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S Africa in disarray, NZ on course for big win

Henry Nicholls struck 105 and Tom Blundell made 96 as the world test champions amassed 482 all out
Published 18 Feb, 2022 02:25pm
New Zealand player celebrate after dismissal of South African batter during third day of the test match against South Africa on Friday. Photo: twitter.com/@ICC
New Zealand player celebrate after dismissal of South African batter during third day of the test match against South Africa on Friday. Photo: twitter.com/@ICC

New Zealand closed in on a massive victory inside three days in the opening test against South Africa on Friday after taking a 387-run lead and then reducing the tourists to 34-3 on day two of the contest.

Henry Nicholls struck 105 and Tom Blundell made 96 as the world test champions amassed 482 all out to effectively bat South Africa out of the contest.

On the back foot since being bundled out for 95 in the first innings, South Africa's top order collapsed for a second time at Christchurch's Hagley Oval to finish the day 353 behind.

Temba Bavuma (22) and Rassie van der Dussen (nine) will resume on Saturday hoping to delay an imminent defeat in the first match of the two-test series.

South Africa's four-man attack without a specialist spinner has looked pedestrian and they also dropped four catches to let New Zealand off the hook.

Nicholls alone was the beneficiary on two such occasions on Thursday and he capitalised on the reprieves to smash his eighth test century.

Neil Wagner, who had stepped in as nightwatchman on Thursday, set the tone when he tore into the South African attack after New Zealand resumed on 116-3.

Wagner clobbered two sixes and seven boundaries in his entertaining 49 before Kagiso Rabada removed him.

Nicholls could not be denied his hundred though, a milestone the 30-year-old brought up with a square-driven four off Duanne Olivier (3-100).

He fell in Olivier's next over, edging him to second slip to depart after a fine knock studded with 11 boundaries.

Colin de Grandhomme made a quickfire 45 off 42 balls before New Zealand's tail stung the tourists.

Having led South Africa's rout with figures of 7-23, Matt Henry returned to smash 58 not out at number 11 as he and Blundell raised 94 runs for the last wicket.

Blundell was unlucky to miss out on a hundred, dismissed caught behind for 96 that included 12 boundaries.

South Africa's misery was not over and their first four runs cost three wickets when they came out to bat for the second time in the match.

Tim Southee dismissed Sarel Erwee with the second ball of the innings and also removed Aiden Markram, while Henry claimed his eighth wicket of the match when he had touring captain Dean Elgar caught behind for a duck.

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