New Zealand v South Africa, 1st Test, Dunedin, 1st dayMartin Burst Inspires New Zealand Fightback07-Mar-2012 07:46:00 GMT
Dunedin: Chris Martin dismissed three of the world's best players within four deliveries to reassert his power over South African batsmen on Day 1 of the first Test.
The tea break proved a tonic before a Chris Martin-inspired fight back left the BLACKCAPS.
The tourists ended a truncated day on 191 for seven at a chilly University Oval in Dunedin after earlier threatening to make New Zealand captain Ross Taylor pay a heavy price for choosing to field first.
South Africa were sitting pretty at 86 for one at tea following a late start when rain and its remnants did not allow the match to begin until 2.15pm.
Following an unthreatening effort in the first session the New Zealanders suddenly had a spring in their step immediately after the resumption when the clouds parted, the sun shone ever so briefly and the indefatigable Martin went a long way to deciding the day’s honours in a withering spell.
He took three wickets in the space of four balls as South Africa fell to 90 for four, removing the princely trio of captain Graeme Smith, Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers in several blinks of the eye.
Smith, who showed his tradesman’s abilities to score 56 in the session to tea, did not get the chance to add to his tally, being beaten by Martin twice outside his off stumps in the first over following the resumption before being served a wider ball inviting punishment.
Smith attempted to do just that but succeeded only in slapping the ball straight to debutant Rob Nicol at short cover.
Thirty-seven-year-old Martin then extracted some extra bounce to square up Kallis in his next over, the result being a high edge to a tumbling Taylor at first slip, before the very next ball nipped back to trap de Villiers on the creaseline leg before wicket.
All of a sudden New Zealand had lifted and they maintained the intensity despite Hashim Amla scoring a quality 62 and Jacques Rudolph being left to carry the tourists’ hopes tomorrow when he resumes on 46.
Martin’s second spell earned him three for 16 off six overs and he ended today with three for 34 off 14, while left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori and hustling seamer Doug Bracewell did good jobs for Taylor also.
Vettori had an absorbing battle with Amla and he tied down the bearded first drop early on before the South African responded by dancing down the pitch and depositing one offering way over the long on fence.
But it was Vettori who had the last say as he cut short Amla’s stay after 149 minutes when an attempted cut saw a thin edge balloon off the gloves of wicketkeeper Kruger van Wyk to a grateful Taylor.
Bracewell struck in the field before he had an influence with the ball, helping remove Mark Boucher for four via a run out when a smart gather and throw caught the wicketkeeper short of his ground.
Bracewell ended the wicket-taking action by shaping a ball away from Dale Steyn, catching the edge of the bat and seeing Taylor take his third catch by reacting quickly when second slip Martin Guptill spilled the initial offering.
Rudolph and Vernon Philander saw out the next 10 overs without further mishap but there was no denying which camp was the happier at the end of an intriguing day.
South Africa 191 for 7 (Amla 62, Smith 53, Martin 3-34)