Blackcaps v South Africa: Matt Henry brilliance sees Blackcaps take first-innings lead on day one after skittling Proteas

The Blackcaps have finished day one of the first test against South Africa in a strong position thanks to a fantastic spell of bowling from seamer Matt Henry.

Only playing thanks to Trent Boult being on paternity leave, Henry took his chance on his home ground - claiming his maiden test five-wicket haul and went on to record the third best figures for any New Zealand bowler with 7-23.

Henry's efforts saw the Blackcaps bowl South Africa out for just 95 and equalled Sir Richard Hadlee - who took the exact same figures against India at Wellington in 1976 as the best bowling display by a Blackcap on home soil.

In response, the Blackcaps reached stumps at 116/3, after a 75-run partnership between Devon Conway (36) and Henry Nicholls (37 not out) earned New Zealand a 21-run lead. 

Nicholls and night watchman Neil Wagner will resume New Zealand's innings on day two, as the Blackcaps chase a maiden test series victory over South Africa.

After Tom Latham won the toss - his first as New Zealand test captain - and chose to bowl, Henry vindicated his skipper's decision in style.

With his fourth ball of the day, Henry struck to remove South Africa captain, Dean Elgar, for one, finding some seam movement that took the edge of the left-hander's bat through to Tim Southee (1/33) at third slip.

South African debutant Sarel Erwee resisted a new-ball burst and got through to 10 in his first international appearance but fell once Kyle Jamieson (1/19) was introduced into the attack.

Jamieson shaped the ball away from the left-hander and found the edge of the bat that flew to Daryl Mitchell at first slip - fielding in place of the now-retired Ross Taylor.

South Africa's third-wicket pair of Aiden Markram (15) and Rassie van der Dussen (8) battled for 53 balls together in their attempt to rebuild the South African innings, only for Henry to leave the visitors' top order reeling.

Matt Henry is congratulated by the Blackcaps.
Matt Henry is congratulated by the Blackcaps. Photo credit: Image - Photosport

Coming back into the attack for a second spell of the morning, Henry struck to remove Markram with the second ball of the 19th over, before sending van der Dussen on his way four balls later, reducing South Africa from 36/2 to 37/4.

And after reaching lunch at 44/4, South Africa was rocked again in the first over of the afternoon session as Southee struck to remove Temba Bavuma for seven, spooning a simple chance to Conway at midwicket.

At the other end, Zubayr Hamza played his shots after lunch, in particular driving Southee for boundaries through mid-on and mid-off.

The right-hander was given a life on 24, when he was dropped after offering Henry a return catch - but couldn't capitalise. Henry got his man for his fourth wicket, as Hamza feathered through to Tom Blundell's gloves, out for 25.

Equalling his previous career-best figures with four wickets, Henry then raised the ball for his maiden five-for, as he trapped Kyle Verreynne in front leg before wicket, thanks to an umpire referral that had South Africa's wicketkeeper out for 18.

But Henry wasn't done there.

Three balls later, Henry had Kagiso Rabada as his sixth wicket, before removing debutant Glenton Stuurman for a golden duck to take his seventh - both caught behind by Blundell, finding himself on a hat-trick.

Henry Nicholls.
Henry Nicholls. Photo credit: Image - Getty Images

No.11 Duanne Olivier survived the hat-trick ball, but was the last man out in the next over, edging Neil Wagner (1/11) to Tom Latham at second slip, seeing South Africa all out for 95 - their lowest score against New Zealand in a test match.

Only Ajaz Patel (10-119) and Sir Richard (9/52) have achieved better returns with the ball than Henry, taking the best figures for a New Zealander on home soil.

But South Africa made sure the Blackcaps wouldn't get away to any sort of fast start in reply with the bat, as the Proteas' quicks gave no easy runs to New Zealand's openers.

Latham was given a life on nine, when he was dropped at gully by Jansen, denying Stuurman his maiden test wicket.

Jansen, though, made up for his mistake in his first over with the ball, removing Will Young for eight, caught behind by Verreynne at 18/1.

Latham grafted to 15 runs from 60 balls, before he lost his off-stump to Olivier, bringing Nicholls and Conway together at the crease.

The pair slowly swung the momentum back in New Zealand's favour, and added a half-century stand in 79 balls for the third wicket.

Nicholls made the most of two lives afforded by South Africa, dropped on five and 23, and will resume his innings looking to rub salt in the Proteas' wounds to give New Zealand a sizeable first innings total, and lead.

Conway, though, fell on the stroke of stumps, as he dragged Duanne Olivier (2/36) back onto his stumps to depart for 36. And although Conway's innings may have fallen short of his high standards set in his early test career, only Nicholls finished with a higher individual score on day one.

Wagner came in at No.5 as a night watchman and did his job in surviving 12 balls to allow the Blackcaps to reach the close of play with no further loss, and a platform on which they can build on day two.

South Africa 95 all out (Hamza 25; Henry 7/23)

New Zealand 116/3 (Nicholls 37 not out, Conway 36; Olivier 2/36)

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