Blackcaps v South Africa: New Zealand suffer early blow after Will O'Rourke cleans up Proteas on day two

New Zealand have slumped to a first-innings deficit, as they chase their first-ever series win over South Africa at Hamilton's Seddon Park.

Poised on 121/3 at tea - exactly halfway to the Proteas total - the Blackcaps have staggered through the evening session, losing seven wickets to trail by 31 runs midway through the contest.

After losing opener Devon Conway for a duck in the first over, the home side avoided a top-order collapse, as kingpins Tom Latham and Kane Williamson put on 74 runs for the second wicket.

Matt Henry run out in undignified fashion.
Matt Henry run out in undignified fashion. Photo credit: Photosport

That stand ended, when Latham was bowled by spinner Dane Piedt for 40 and with replacement Rachin Ravindra barely off the mark, Williamson followed, edging Piedt onto his thigh pad to Raynard van Tonder fielding close.

The Proteas were widely ridiculed for selecting two spinners, while the home side dropped frontline tweaker Mitch Santner from their line-up. Piedt's performance has fully justified that gamble, as had Ravindra's part-time success for the hosts on the opening day.

After tea, Ravindra - a double-century hero at Mt Maunganui last week - chopped onto his stumps for 29, copping a gobful from bowler Tshepo Moreki as he departed. Wicketkeeper Tom Blundell duplicated that dismissal, unsuccessfully trying to remove his bat from a Dane Paterson delivery.

Glen Phillips edged Piedt onto his pads, with keeper Clyde Fortuin gleefully claiming the ricochet behind. Will Young made his way to 36, but threw his wicket away trying to loft Piedt over the boundary, but caught by Ruan de Swardt on the rope.

Captain Tim Southee came and went in customary fashion, swinging at Paterson and providing van Tonder with a difficult catch over his shoulder, running away.

Matt Henry was run out, leaving tailenders Neil Wagner and Will O'Rourke to salvage an increasingly dire situation. Wagner belied his low batting position, clubbing 33, including a pair of sixes, before he misjudged Piedt's spin and was stumped out of his crease.

Piedt finished with figures of 5/89, adding to the suspicion that the Blackcaps had badly misjudged their home pitch.

Earlier, they wasted little time wrapping up the Proteas innings in the morning.

De Swardt and Shaun von Berg resumed at 220/6, defending a seventh-wicket stand of 70, but seamer O'Rourke quickly ended the tourists' effort with the bat, nabbing an early breakthrough, before wrapping up the tail to continue his impressive test debut.

Kane Williamson heads back to the pavilion.
Kane Williamson heads back to the pavilion. Photo credit: Photosport

O'Rourke finished with figures of 4/59 from 18.2 overs - the best of his first-class career - to lead all bowlers.

The English-born Aucklander removed both dangermen, with de Swardt (64) and von Berg (38) each playing on to their stumps.

Ravindra didn't get a chance to add to his opening day's figures (3/33), while Southee (1/63 off 25 overs), Matt Henry (1/44 off 17) and Neil Wagner (1/32 off 16) contributed a wicket apiece.

The Blackcaps pursuit was off to a nightmare start, with Paterson finding the edge of Conway's bat with the fourth delivery of their innings.

South Africa 242 (de Swardt 64, von Berg 38, Bedingham 39, O'Rourke 4/59) Blackcaps 211 (Williamson 43, Latham 40, Young 36; Piedt 5/89) on day two

South Africa lead by 31 runs after the first innings