Wellington - New Zealand struck twice in the final three overs to ruin what would have been a perfect opening day of the second Test for the Proteas at the Basin Reserve on Thursday.
First Test hero, Dean Elgar (9) and Stephen Cook (3) were the men to go late on the first day, undoing the work of the bowlers after they had kept the hosts well in check. This despite a maiden Test century from Henry Nicholls, who defied a woeful start from his side to make 118 (161 balls, 15 fours).
JP Duminy was the tourists’ star with the ball as the off-spinner returned career-best figures of 4/47 after the Proteas had won the toss and elected to bowl first.
They had the Black Caps three down for next to nothing inside the first hour and then five down just after lunch for a meagre total of 101 thanks to two wickets each from Kagiso Rabada (2/59) and Keshav Maharaj (2/47).
Nicholls and BJ Watling (34) added 116 for the sixth wicket to rescue the hosts, before Duminy ran through the tail with his best figures since his 4/73 against Australia at Cape Town back in 2014.
Nicholls was also amongst his wickets after a fine career-best innings of his own, before Tim Southee gave the total a further boost with a quick-fire 27.
Morne Morkel also picked up 2/82.
South Africa then looked well on course to end the day on top, before Southee (1/18) and Colin de Grandhomme (1/2) struck late on, leaving night-watchman Rabada (8) and Hashim Amla, who was yet to score, to negotiate the final few deliveries before the close.