Herculean Wagner opens door for New Zealand

Lunch South Africa 301 for 8 (Philander 16*, Rabada 2*) v New Zealand
Live scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Neil Wagner ended Dean Elgar’s long stay during an 11-over spell © Getty Images

New Zealand enjoyed a productive morning on the second day in Dunedin as they claimed four wickets to leave South Africa 301 for 8 at lunch. Dean Elgar was finally removed for a career-best 140 while Quinton de Kock and Temba Bavuma also departed against a disciplined attack.

It was a session of sustained accuracy from New Zealand – 4 for 72 from 28 overs – continuing their efforts from the opening day when even though wickets dried up the scoring did not run away from them. The value of keeping South Africa’s scoring rate under control came to the fore when de Kock and Bavuma, the last recognised batsmen, departed in quick succession.

Neil Wagner, one of just two frontline quicks, bowled an 11-over spell in which he only faded towards the end, Jeetan Patel kept his hold over de Kock, when he removed him for the third time in three innings on the tour, and Trent Boult followed up Wagner’s unyielding stint with a brace.

The first hour was nip-and-tuck – five runs coming off the first six overs of the day – and Elgar needed some fortune to reach a new career-high when he top edged a short ball from Wagner over the slips. It almost goes without saying these days that Wagner’s effort was outstanding and he finally extracted Elgar with another well-directed short ball which the left hander didn’t know whether to play or leave, glancing a top edge to BJ Watling – who caught him 104 runs after his leg-side miss.

Bavuma went to a 143-ball half-century, his first in eight innings since Hobart against Australia, and the reward for his watchfulness started to come when he took three boundaries off the last over of Wagner’s spell: a clip, a pull through midwicket and a flat-batted swat straight of mid-on. But he couldn’t fully cash in, feathering Boult down the leg side when he shuffled well across his crease.

By then, de Kock, someone who could have lifted the scoring rate, had also departed to the man who has troubled him most on this tour. Patel claimed him in each of the final two ODIs and added him again here, luring de Kock into reaching for a drive and spooning a catch to backward point where Wagner still had the energy to dive forward.

South Africa’s lower order has added useful runs in recent times, so they would still have had ambitions of pushing towards 350, but Keshav Maharaj did not read the memo about supporting Vernon Philander and spliced a weak pull to midwicket.

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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