Blackcaps v South Africa: New Zealand make early breakthrough on third day of Mt Maunganui test

Blackcaps batting star Kane Williamson has recorded his second century within three days, as his team extended their already substantial advantage over South Africa in the first test at Mt Maunganui.

After his 118 in the first innings, Williamson reached triple figures again in the second dig, bringing up his 31st test ton off 125 balls. In the process, he has surpassed Australian Matthew Hayden, Englishman Joe Root and West Indian Shivnarine Chanderpaul on the alltime rankings.

He also joined Glenn Turner, Geoff Howarth, Andrew Jones and Peter Fulton as the only Kiwis to score centuries in both innings of a test.

Kane Williamson on his way to a second century at Mt Maunganui.
Kane Williamson on his way to a second century at Mt Maunganui. Photo credit: Photosport

Soon after bringing up the milestone, Williamson was dismissed for 109, stumped by wicketkeeper Clyde Fortuin, off the bowling of South African captain Neil Brand, as New Zealand lifted their run rate at the end of the third day.

Moments later, they reached stumps at 179/4 - a lead of 528 runs, with two full days to go.

Earlier, the home side dismissed the Proteas for just 162 in the afternoon session, but did not enforce the follow-on, instead choosing to pad their already substantial lead.

"We just felt this is the first of four tests in a pretty quick period of time for us and we wanted to make sure our bowlers had an element of freshness to them," said coach Gary Stead. "With the amount of time left in the game, we wanted to make sure they had a sleep tonight and hopefully come back a little fresher tomorrow."

Resuming with a 431-run first-innings lead and four Proteas batters already back in the shed, New Zealand consolidated their commanding position, when Matt Henry claimed two more scalps in the sixth over of the day.

Tim Southee and Rachin Ravindra celebrate a South African wicket.
Tim Southee and Rachin Ravindra celebrate a South African wicket. Photo credit: Photosport

The South Africans had barely taken guard for the day, when David Bedingham - the most assured of a raw batting line-up - skied Henry back towards the bowler, who stepped aside for Mitch Santner to make the catch.

Debutant Ruan de Swardt blocked his first delivery in test cricket pass and then let the second pass, but was mortified to see the ball clip his front pad on its way to wicketkeeper Tom Blundell. Given out leg before wicket, he reviewed the decision, but the dismissal stood, as the Proteas fell to 83/6.

Keegan Petersen and Fortuin steadied the innings with a seventh-wicket partnership of 37, dragging the Proteas into triple figures, but with lunch beckoning, Fortuin guided Santner into the waiting hands of NZ captain Tim Southee and the tail was exposed.

After lunch, Petersen and fast-bowler Duanne Olivier added 32 runs for the eighth wicket, but when Petersen was caught by Kane Williamson, off Rachin Ravindra's spin, the end was near.

Santner bowled Tshepo Moreki and Ravindra ended the innings by bowling tailender Dane Paterson.

Batting again, Latham was trapped leg before wicket in the fifth over, but fellow opener Devon Conway and Williamson saw the hosts through to tea, building a 92-run stand for the second wicket.

Conway was caught by Edward Moore, off Brand, for 29, as the pace went on. First-innings double centurion Ravindra was not able to duplicate those heroics, but Daryl Mitchell proved a willing ally for Williamson, as he reached his century.

Mitchell (11no) and Blundell (5no) will resume on the fourth morning.

New Zealand worked their way into their commanding position during the second day, when Ravindra converted his maiden test century into a double ton, eventually dismissed for 240.

Glen Phillips (39 off 42 balls) and Henry (27 off nine) helped lift the ran rate late, before the home side were eventually out for 511, with two hours to make inroads on the South African batting order.

Mitch Santner makes a catch to dismiss South African batter David Bedingham.
Mitch Santner makes a catch to dismiss South African batter David Bedingham. Photo credit: Photosport

Returning from a lengthy injury break, Kyle Jamieson took the prized scalps of Brand and fellow debutant Raynard van Tonder two balls later to set the visitors on the back foot.

When opener Moore and Zubayr Hamza fell before stumps, New Zealand were well on top.   

NZ 511 (Ravindra 240, Williamson 118, Phillips 39; Brand 6/119) & 179/4 (Williamson 109, Conway 29; Brand 2/52) SA 162 (Peterson 45, Bedingham 32, Moore 23; Henry 3/31, Santner 3/34)

NZ lead by 528 runs at stumps on day three