Morkel puts South Africa in the driving seat

Lunch New Zealand 268 and 55 for 2 (Raval 21*, Broom 20*) trail South Africa 359 (de Kock 91, Bavuma 89, de Grandhomme 3-52) by 36 runs
Live scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Morne Morkel claimed two wickets in his opening spell © Getty Images

New Zealand were left with a tall order to keep themselves in the second Test after Morne Morkel made early inroads including the scalp of Kane Williamson. Morkel and Vernon Philander had taken their last-wicket stand to 57, and the lead to 91, before Morkel struck twice in a demanding opening spell to leave New Zealand 26 for 2.

They did well not to suffer further damage against impressive bursts from all three South African quicks. Neil Broom, who entered on a pair, fought through to reach lunch on 20 and Jeet Raval, whose composure has stood out in this series, stood up tall to the attempts to unsettle him with the short ball.

It took New Zealand just three overs to finally wrap up South Africa’s first innings. Morkel equalled his career-best of 40, made against Australia at Sydney in 2008, before Patel squeezed one through his defence. South Africa’s last four wickets had added 265.

Then the contest went back up a level. Morkel was immediately causing discomfort although talked Faf du Plessis into wasting a review in the opening over when they asked for an lbw against Tom Latham which the batsman had inside-edged (and was probably outside off as well). Latham’s torment did not last long, though, when he sparred at a length ball and offered a simple catch to gully. There are few alternative opening options around New Zealand, but Latham’s recent form has been bleak.

It meant Williamson was again exposed with the ball still very new and his stay was brief when Morkel made one straighten from off stump to graze the outside edge. Kumar Dharmasena did not detect the very thin nick, but this time du Plessis’ call for DRS – which was almost instant – was spot on and they had kept Williamson to a return of just three runs in the Test.

Broom did not have to stew too long on his pair when he tapped the ball into point for a personally precious single. He was then given a thorough working over by an exemplary spell from Philander who probed and beat his outside edge with waspish movement. A couple of the deliveries were like 130kph leg-breaks and survival was the only option. However, Broom managed a classy response with a strong back-foot drive through the covers as Philander’s seven-over spell drew to a close.

Raval also did well to survive, coming through Kagiso Rabada’s pre-lunch spell – in which he pushed the speedgun towards 150kph – as he was repeatedly struck around the gloves but showed excellent technique to keep the ball down. It wasn’t always pretty, his hands taking a pounding, and off the penultimate ball of the session he fended another short ball wide of silly point who had just been brought in to crowd the batsman.

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.


Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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