Du Plessis hits ton before Steyn and Philander strike

Match Report: 2nd Test: Day 2: South Africa vs New Zealand at Centurion, August 28, 2016

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Brief Scores :- New Zealand 38 for 3 (Philander 1-10, Steyn 1-18) trail South Africa 481 for 8 dec (du Plessis 112*, Duminy 88, Wagner 5-86) by 444 runs

THE Proteas struck three times with the new ball to put New Zealand on the ropes at the close of the second day of the second Sunfoil Test match at SuperSport Park on Sunday.

On what amounted to a near perfect day for the home side Faf du Plessis led from the front with his fifth Test century and his second against New Zealand (112 not out, 232 balls, 12 fours and 2 sixes) to set up the third highest first innings Test score at this venue of 481/8 declared before Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander got rid of the New Zealand opening pair as quickly as they had done in the previous match at Sahara Stadium Kingsmead.

Temba Bavuma then chimed in with the brilliant run out of Ross Taylor from his specialist short leg position to leave New Zealand on 38/3 at the close and still 443 runs in arrears.

The visiting captain, Kane Williamson, will have to match the performance of his opposing captain when play resumes on Monday morning.

The fact that Du Plessis and JP Duminy (88 off 158 balls, 13 fours) were the two leading runs scorers for South Africa in a match in which the top five all past the half-century mark is highly encouraging looking ahead not only to the remainder of this match but the forthcoming series in Australia as well. Having the entire top order in good form is the basic requirement for any successful Test side.

The foundation that had been laid on day one became all the more evident as New Zealand opted for a containing policy on the second day with a measure of success as they restricted the Proteas to 75/2 in the morning session and 79/1 in the afternoon.

In spite of the containing nature of their bowling Neil Wagner put in another wonderful effort and fully deserved his five-wicket haul – 5/86 in 39 overs – to get his name on to the honours’ board at his original home ground.

The four New Zealand seamers all bowled more than 30 overs as the spin of Mitchell Santner was again only frugally used as he added six overs to the eight he had bowled on day one.

When New Zealand batted, Steyn and Philander were as impressive as they had been at Kingsmead. By the time the total had reached 18/2 only one scoring stroke had been made in front of the wicket.

Kagiso Rabada bowled at express pace, topping out at 148km/h compared to the 146 of Steyn and life is not going to get any easier for the batsmen on a pitch of increasingly variable bounce.

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