South Africa produced a remarkable effort with both bat and ball to clinch the second Test against New Zealand played at Wellington. For a change, spin did most of the damage for South Africa as left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj bagged six wickets in New Zealand’ s second innings. Maharaj bowled cleverly and accordingly to the plans set by captain Faf du Plessis with Henry Nicholls and Jimmy Neesham falling in quick succession to put South Africa on top in the game on Day 3. South Africa have maintained their impeccable record at the Basin Reserve, Wellington winning five games out of seven played against New Zealand.
South Africa started off well in pursuit of 81 runs posted by New Zealand. Stephen Cook’s torrid run with the bat continued as he perished for 11 runs, dismissed by Tim Southee for the second time in the Test match. Hashim Amla then came to the crease and looked positive from the outset. Dean Elgar also pushed on the rate of scoring but later perished trying to play an expensive pull against left-arm pacer Neil Wagner to see South Africa reduced to 48 for 2 after 17.5 overs.
South Africa made their intentions clear to wipe off the remaining runs in the remaining overs as they opted for the half-hour extension in the day’s play. Amla remained unbeaten till the end to score 38 runs as he added 33 runs with JP Duminy to see South Africa win the game by eight wickets and take a 1-0 lead in the three-match test series.
Earlier, South Africa produced a clinical performance with the ball as Morne Morkel was outstanding with the ball in hand. He dismissed both Tom Latham and Williamson to see New Zealand in all sorts of trouble. Keshav Maharaj then came into the attack and dismantled the feeble middle order to see the hosts dismissed for 171 runs in 63.2 overs. Opener Jeet Raval however played a solid innings to top-score for New Zealand with 80 runs off 174 balls.
It was a remarkable turnaround by South Africa as Quinton de Kock and Temba Bavuma bailed the side out of trouble to see them post 359 runs in their first innings after reeling at one stage at 94 for 6 on Day 2 of the Test match. Morne Morkel and Keshav Maharaj led the way with the ball to see South Africa complete a comprehensive win inside three days at Wellington.
The final and third Test of the series will be played at Seddon Park, Hamilton on 25th March on Saturday.