Cricket: NZ heading again for massive loss

Wicketkeeper BJ Watling provided a rare highlight for New Zealand as it seemed to be plunging to a huge defeat in the second test against South Africa last night.

Watling took the attack to the South Africans with a gutsy, technically strong 63 off 87 balls on the third morning to hold up South Africa's march to a massive victory and a 2-0 series victory.

At lunch, having been rolled for 121, New Zealand was three for none in its second innings, Brendon McCullum and Martin Guptill on one each, trailing overall by 401 runs.

Watling and Northern Districts team-mate Trent Boult shared the biggest stand of the innings, 59 for the last wicket, a record against South Africa, eclipsing the 57 of Simon Doull and Richard de Groen at Johannesburg in 1994.

Until the pair came together it had been another grim period for New Zealand, which began the day at 47 for six responding to South Africa's 525 for eight declared.

Superb fast bowling from world No 1 Dale Steyn swept through Doug Bracewell, Neil Wagner and Jeetan Patel in the space of 11 deliveries, his five for 17 giving him a 19th bag of five or more wickets in a test innings.

Bracewell edged to the wicketkeeper after battling 44 balls; Wagner went lbw for a duck before Patel produced another dreadful demonstration of how not to bat in any form of the game.

Having backed away repeatedly in the first test at Cape Town, he did the same and lost his off stump to his third ball. Coupled with his inability to make headway with his offspin in South Africa's innings, this should be his last test.

New Zealand was reeling at 62 for nine, but Watling cut expertly, drove with confidence and in Boult found a gritty ally.

It carried New Zealand past the previous low at St George's Park, 84 by South Africa against England in 1889.

The rot had begun on day two when New Zealand collapsed again against South Africa's pace attack when it staggered to 47 for six in its first innings.

The pace duo of Steyn and Rory Kleinveldt ended the day with figures of two for 14 and two for 18 respectively, while left-arm spinner Robin Peterson claimed two wickets in two balls.

In South Africa's first innings, Hashim Amla, Faf Du Plessis and Dean Elgar all reached three figures for the world No 1 side.

Du Plessis, who began day two on 69, eventually scored 137 off 252 balls with 14 fours and two sixes before he became medium-pacer Munro's first test wicket when he was caught in the covers.

Elgar brought up his first ton, in his third test, off what turned out to be the last ball of South Africa's innings to end not out on 103 off 170 deliveries with 14 fours and a six.

Amla added just four runs to his overnight total before he was caught down the leg-side by keeper Watling off a delivery from left-arm seamer Trent Boult to be out for for 110 off 235 balls

By David Leggat.


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