Blackcaps v South Africa: Tourists win toss, put New Zealand into bat first at Mt Maunganui's Bay Oval

Centuries from Kane Williamson and Rachin Ravindra have helped put the Blackcaps in the box seat early in the first test against South Africa.

Williamson carried his bat with an unbeaten 112 off 259 balls, joined by Ravindra on 118 not out (211 balls), as the hosts finished day one at Mount Maunganui's Bay Oval in a strong position at 258/2.

The duo combined for a third-wicket stand of 219 off 419 balls - New Zealand's third highest against South Africa - to ensure a long afternoon in the sun for the newlook Proteas side, who had earlier won the toss and elected to bowl.

Ravindra and Williamson.
Ravindra and Williamson. Photo credit: Getty Images

Breakthrough World Cup star Ravindra took full advantage of his fourth opportunity to don the whites, registering his first test century with a patient knock that included 14 boundaries.  

He reached triple figures an over after Williamson, whose 30th test century takes him past greats Sir Don Bradman and Virat Kohli.

Both batters toiled hard through the afternoon session to help the Blackcaps rebuild from the loss of two early wickets, before ramping up their scoring after tea.

"Pretty special, more than the individual landmark, just contributing to a great day for us as a team," said Ravindra. "They bowled pretty well... and the pitch wasn't that free-flowing, but that's the challenge of test cricket, being able to adapt to what's in front of you.

"To be able to do it with Kane was pretty cool."

The South Africans will rue a pair of missed chances earlier in the day, both off the bowling of Ruan de Swardt. Williamson was dropped on 47 by Edward Moore, who badly misjudged a skied drive running backwards from extra cover.

De Swardt had to watch on in anguish as another wicket went begging in the 71st over. With the score at 190/2, Ravindra top-edged a pull shot that was spilled by Duanne Olivier running in at deep backward square leg. 

"Fair play to Kane and Ravindra, they played well," said seamer Olivier. "I feel we bowled really well in the first two sessions and then maybe let it go it a little bit.

"Still, four days to go and a lot can happen." 

Earlier, South Africa's debutants made a dream start.

Captain Neil Brand won the toss and invited the Blackcaps to bat first, with rookie fast-bowler Tshepo Moreki claiming South Africa-born opener Devon Conway with his first delivery in test cricket, trapped leg before wicket in the second over, rocking the home side at 2/1.

As New Zealand found runs hard to come bay, they also lost Tom Latham during the morning session, caught by new wicketkeeper Clyde Fortuin, off the bowling of Dane Paterson for 20.

The hosts reached lunch at 65/2, with Williamson 26 not out and Ravindra unbeaten on 15.

The Proteas named six debutants among their understrength line-up, with Brand, Moreki, Fortuin, Moore, Raynard van Tonder and de Swardt all making their first appearances for their country.

The Blackcaps have strayed from their traditional home selection, naming only three frontline seamers - captain Tim Southee, Matt Henry and Kyle Jamieson - but three spin options in Mitch Santner, Glenn Phillips and Ravindra.

With veteran batter Henry Nicholls dropped, Ravindra was promoted up the order to No.4, after his heroics at last year's World Cup one-day tournament. 

Tshepo Moreki celebrates a wicket with his first ball against NZ.
Tshepo Moreki celebrates a wicket with his first ball against NZ. Photo credit: Photosport

"It looks a good surface and with five fine days, hopefully there will be some deterioration, which will come into play later in the test match," said Southee. "Our boys aren't too displeased to bat first.

"There's always excitement and nervous energy around day one of a test match. We're looking forward to what should be an exciting week, and an exciting month or so of test cricket."

South Africa: Neil Brand (capt), Edward Moore, Raynard van Tonder, Zubayr Hamza, David Bedingham, Keegan Peterson, Ruan de Swardt, Clyde Fortuin, Duanne Olivier, Tshepo Moreki, Dane Paterson

New Zealand: Tom Latham, Devon Conway, Kane Williamson, Rachin Ravindra, Daryl Mitchell, Tom Blundell (wk), Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner, Kyle Jamieson, Matt Henry, Tim Southee (capt)