The Hash makes Kiwi salad

2013-01-02 15:49

New Zealand 45 (Williamson 13, Philander 5/7, Morkel 3/14, Steyn 2/18) South Africa 119/2 (Amla 66, Petersen 45* Franklin 1/11 Bracewell 1/30)

South Africa lead by 74 runs

A 107-run partnership between Hashim Amla and Alviro Petersen put to bed any mental demons the Proteas may have had about encountering a minefield on the pitch after the Proteas bowlers had gone to work on the New Zealand batsmen, shooting them out for a mere 45.

It also showed up the inadequacies of a Ross Taylor-less New Zealand batting line-up. The battle New Zealand now face to save this game – let alone win it – is monumental.

A tactical-response team approach in quickly overhauling the Kiwi’s tiny score was needed and the Proteas batting pair responded in kind.

Petersen cashed in on leg-stump delicacies offered up by Trent Boult, who seemed to find it hard to get the ball to move back in to the right handers.

The bustling Doug Bracewell, who removed Graeme Smith before lunch, was also not spared. He found himself forced to bowl wide outside offstump, opening himself up to the master driver, Amla.

While it took New Zealand a laboured 19.2 overs to collect their 45 runs, the Proteas needed seven fewer, with the difference being that the Proteas were willing to wait for the bad ball while there had been few bowled by the Proteas. The hosts motored along at close to five runs an over before Amla’s dismissal eased the boundary rut.

Amla seemed intent on toying with the bowling and, in his special way, turned good balls into boundary balls. A wristy flick off Boult, with the ball pitching on offstump and moving away from him, saw the ball find its way to the midwicket boundary.

It was a shot of dominance and a major sign of the gulf between the sides. It was one of eight boundaries in Amla’s sparkling innings.

His penchant for walking across the stumps to fetch the ball eventually caught up with him though when James Franklin trapped him in front with a ball that held its line.

Petersen quietly held firm in the shot-making maelstrom, assiduously working his way to 45 without breaking much of a sweat.

Now the focus shifts to Jacques Kallis, who is 14 runs away from becoming only the fourth batsman in history to reach 13 000 Test runs.

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