De Grandhomme heaps pressure on South Africa

Lunch South Africa 104 for 6 (Bavuma 15*, de Kock 2*, de Grandhomme 3-22) trail New Zealand 268 by 164 runs
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JP Duminy again fell to Neil Wagner as South Africa’s top order stumbled © Getty Images

New Zealand’s seamers made extensive further inroads on the second morning in Wellington as South Africa tottered on 104 for 6 at lunch. Tim Southee, Neil Wagner and Colin de Grandhomme all made breakthroughs to leave New Zealand’s first-innings total of 268 looking ever more substantial.

Southee and Wagner both bowled with good pace, yet it was the wobbling medium offerings of de Grandhomme – recalled for this match in place of Mitchell Santner – which claimed two of the biggest scalps, Hashim Amla and then Faf du Plessis shortly before lunch, to leave South Africa desperately needing a recovery from Temba Bavuma and Quinton de Kock if they were not to face a sizeable deficit.

Nightwatchmen can quickly turn troublesome if not removed early, but Southee ensured that did not become a factor for New Zealand when he swung one through Kagiso Rabada in his opening over of the day. Southee, bounding in with the intensity of a man with a point to prove after his omission in Hamilton last week, shaped the ball nicely.

De Grandhomme had shared the early duties with Southee and was just threatening to release the pressure when JP Duminy took him for two boundaries. However, it did not take Wagner long to reassert New Zealand’s position when, with his seventh ball of the day, and first to JP Duminy, he claimed him for the third time in the season courtesy of a loose flick which picked out midwicket.

De Grandhomme then followed Southee after an eight-over spell with success coming almost immediately when Amla, still struggling to find his best form, could barely believe he had picked out midwicket against a delivery on his pads he would normally ease away for runs. Henry Nicholls, the star of the opening day for New Zealand, could not take the catch at the first attempt but was able to grab the rebound: when things run your way, make the most of them.

Wagner went after du Plessis and Bavuma with the short ball during a nine-over spell, creating moments of unease for both batsmen. Du Plessis was not in control when he top edged a six over long leg and Bavuma might have been caught at mid-on when he spliced the ball had de Grandhomme not lost his foot.

But de Grandhomme – and New Zealand – certainly ended the session on a solid footing when du Plessis inside-edged a drive with BJ Watling taking a smart, low catch. Before this Test du Plessis had called for more consistency from his top order – it will be something he and his charges will be mulling over again.

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.


Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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