Cricket: Blackcaps strike early after overnight declaration in first test against South Africa

  • Updated
  • 07/02/2024

New Zealand have secured victory over South Africa on the fourth afternoon of the first test at Mt Maunganui's Bay Oval.

Six wickets after tea helped the home side squeeze the life out of their rivals for a 281-run win, despite some lusty hitting from the Proteas tailenders.

Throughout the afternoon, David Bedingham fought a rearguard action for the tourists, bringing up his second test fifty, including 13 boundaries and three sixes for a career-high 87 runs.

Tim Southee celebrates a wicket.
Tim Southee celebrates a wicket. Photo credit: Getty Images

Three balls after the resumption, his resistance ended, when he was caught by Mitch Santner in the deep, off Kyle Jamieson. Two overs later, Keegan Petersen also fell to Jamieson, caught by Rachin Ravindra, leaving South Africa reeling at 181/6 and their tail exposed.

Batters fell at regular intervals throughout the session, with Ruan de Swardt unbeaten on 34 at the end. While Jamieson was the destroyer through the middle of the order, spinner Santner captured the last three scalps to secure the win.

"Pretty good on a pretty good surface for the batters to set it up and the bowlers to take the 20 wickets is very pleasing," reflected captain Tim Southee. "When you come to the Mount, you expect something different to the other test venues around the country - it does offer a little more later in the test, rather than early.

"We banked on that with the side we picked and it was pleasing to see Mitch Santner back bowling in New Zealand. Rachin Ravindra and Glenn Phillips picked up wickets as well, which shows spin did come into play at the Mount."

After declaring overnight at 179/4 to set the Proteas a daunting target of 529 to win, the NZ bowlers struck with two early wickets.

Southee collected the offstump of counterpart Neil Brand in the second over of the day to immediately put the tourists on the backfoot. Matt Henry struck in the following over to reduce the Proteas to 5/2, snaring Edward Moore, caught by Devon Conway.

Zubayr Hamza and Raynard van Tonder combined for a third-wicket partnership of 63 runs off 163 balls, but Jamieson removed both after the lunch break - the latter caught by Tom Latham and the former by Southee.

Bedingham's stand was part of a fifth-wicket stand of 105 with Petersen, before both departed early in the evening session.

Wicketkeeper Clyde Fortuin departed in unfortunate circumstances, smashing a delivery from Glenn Phillips into the knee of close-in fielder Latham, with NZ keeper Tom Blundell gleefully accepting the rebound.

The result puts New Zealand on the verge of their first series victory over South Africa, with the second encounter scheduled for Hamilton, starting next Tuesday.

NZ 511 (Ravindra 240, Williamson 118, Phillips 39; Brand 6/119) & 179/4 declared (Williamson 109, Conway 29; Brand 2/52) South Africa 162 (Peterson 45, Bedingham 32, Moore 23; Henry 3/31, Santner 3/34) & 247 (Bedingham 87, Hamza 36, de Swardt 34no; Jamieson 4/58, Santner 3/59)

NZ win by 281 runs, lead series 1-0