New Zealand vs South Africa, 1st Test, Day 2, Highlights: Henry Nicholls and Matt Henry spearheaded a commanding display as New Zealand built a 387-run first-innings lead that left South Africa in deep strife on day two of the first Test on Friday.
New Zealand dominated South Africa to hold a 21-run lead on day one of the first Test in Christchurch on Thursday after Matt Henry spearheaded the attack with a career-best seven for 23.
Henry’s bounce and movement saw South Africa fold for 95 before tea, and at stumps New Zealand had benefitted from the wicket browning off in the late afternoon and were 116 for three.
Henry Nicholls was not out on 37 with nightwatchman Neil Wagner, dropped in the final over, on two.
“Obviously today’s been a great day for us,” Henry said, describing his own performance as “pretty surreal” returning the third best bowling figures for New Zealand behind Richard Hadlee and Ajaz Patel.
Henry Nicholls hits 105 as New Zealand stretch lead past 250
Henry Nicholls (105) compiled his eighth Test hundred while Tom Blundell and Colin de Grandhomme made useful contributions as New Zealand stretched the lead to 261 at Tea on Day 2 of the opening Test versus South Africa.
Despite finding themselves well behind in the game, the visitors had started the second session on a better note with Glenton Stuurman tempting Daryll Mitchell to drive at an outswinger, only for the all-rounder to edge one to the cordon. Nicholls then completed his eighth Test ton by cracking one through the point region. However, the southpaw lost his concentration as he soon drove one off Duanne Olivier to the slip cordon. Meanwhile, South Africa would rue the fact that Nicholls was dropped twice on Day 1.
At that juncture, de Grandhomme joined forces with Blundell to share a crucial stand of 76, which more or less shut the door on South Africa’s chances of making a comeback. Blundell cracked drives, alongside the pull and glance. De Grandhomme also took the aggressive route as Olivier and Stuurman continued to leak runs. For a while it felt as if New Zealand wouldn’t lose another wicket before Tea break. Just that De Grandhomme tried one shot too many and fell to Aiden Markram’s part-time off-spin.
Blundell and Kyle Jamieson then steered the side to the break. Incidentally, the hosts had also dominated the first session to put the pressure on South Africa’s bowlers. The nighwatchman, Neil Wagner in particular played with freedom as the visiting side’s bowlers sprayed it around. The highlight of Wagner innings was the way he cracked an imperious pull off Stuurman over deep backward square leg.
Nicholls also looked busy at the crease, essaying the occasional on drive and cut. Stuurman and Rabada were the two bowlers who came in for some severe punishment. Rabada did beat Wagner a few times but he also ended up offering width, alongside bowling no-balls. Eventually, against the run of play, Wagner lofted one off Rabada straight into the hands of the fielder at deep square leg. But by then enough damage was done. Nicholls and Mitchell just rammed home the advantage with another useful stand before the Lunch break.
Henry’s previous best was twice taking four for 93, and he has struggled to be a regular member of the New Zealand attack, where Tim Southee and Trent Boult have long been the new-ball bowlers.
Olivier has been arguably the best bowler of the lot for South Africa. Although he too hasn’t been able to bowl with control. South Africa have also dropped four catches in this innings so far.
New Zealand vs South Africa, 1st Test, Day 2, Highlights:
Henry Nicholls and Matt Henry spearheaded a commanding display as New Zealand built a 387-run first-innings lead that left South Africa in deep strife on day two of the first Test on Friday. At stumps in Christchurch, South Africa were three for 34, with Temba Bavuma on 22 and Rassie van der Dussen on nine, and needing another 353 to make New Zealand bat again. The record first-innings deficit overhauled for victory is 291 by Australia against Sri Lanka in 1992. New Zealand were all out in their first innings late on day two for 482 in reply to South Africa’s 95