Hamilton: South Africa prepared themselves to bat long, through rain disruptions, to make the most of New Zealand’s bungled use of the review system on day one of the third Test in Hamilton on Saturday.
“We’ve got a long way to go to get a good total,” Hashim Amla said after his 50 and an unbeaten 33 from Faf du Plessis helped the Proteas recover from a disastrous start on a rain-disrupted day in which only 41 overs were possible.
From being five for two in the fourth over, South Africa were 123 for four at stumps while New Zealand had blown their review opportunities.
“There is so much time left,” Amla said with South Africa maintaining a win was still possible despite rain forecast for the remaining four days.
“We want to bat as long as we can in the first innings to get a really big score on the board to set the game up.”
They have the advantage of knowing New Zealand have no reviews left before the 80th over which has already cost them the chance to remove du Plessis.
Just 13 balls after using up their second review they were powerless to react when the umpires missed a faint edge which should have seen du Plessis caught behind for 16.
New Zealand quick Matt Henry described the weather and faulty reviewing as “frustrating” but said the hosts were still satisfied with their day’s work.
“We did well to get them four down. We didn’t get (the reviews) right. It can be frustrating but we get another chance later on,” he said.
South Africa, starting the Test with an unbeatable 1-0 series lead, were two down in the fourth over after winning the toss and electing to bat.
It would have been three for 28 if not for the first New Zealand judgement error of the day.
They decided not to review a rejected Neil Wagner lbw appeal against JP Duminy on seven when the ball tracker technology signalled a direct hit.
Duminy went on to make 20 in a 59-run stand for the third wicket with Amla before being removed just before lunch.
Amla went soon after the break for 50, his 32nd half-century and was left 67 runs short of becoming the fourth South African to total 8,000 career runs.
After New Zealand’s first review blunder they over-compensated by wasting two reviews on correctly-called not out decisions which left them helpless to contest another decision after the 29th over.
The magnitude of the error became apparent minutes later when umpire Bruce Oxenford missed a faint edge from du Plessis off the luckless Wagner which was taken by BJ Watling behind the stumps.
It continued a charmed run at the crease for du Plessis who has seven fours in his 33, including from edges over the wicketkeeper, through the slips and just wide of gully.
But there were mixed fortunes for du Plessis at the start of the day.
He won the toss for the eighth consecutive time in New Zealand but then saw both openers fall cheaply.
Debutant Theunis de Bruyn’s introduction to Test cricket ended with a third-ball duck when he edged Henry to Tom Latham at second slip.
Dean Elgar was bowled for five when he shouldered arms to a Colin de Grandhomme ball that came back from outside the off stump.
Henry also accounted for Duminy to have figures of two for 25 while de Grandhomme bowled Amla and finished the day with two for 43.
Scoreboard at stumps on a rain-shortened first day of the third Test between New Zealand and South Africa at Seddon Park in Hamilton on Saturday.
South Africa first innings
T. de Bruyn c Latham b Henry 0
D. Elgar b de Grandhomme 5
H. Amla b de Grandhomme 50
J. Duminy c Patel b Henry 20
F. du Plessis not out 33
T. Bavuma not out 13
Extras: (lb1, w1) 2
Total (four wickets; 41 overs) 123
Fall of wickets: 1-5 (de Bruyn), 2-5 (Elgar), 3-64 (Duminy), 4-97 (Amla)
To bat: Quinton de Kock, Vernon Philander, Keshav Maharaj, Morne Morkel, Kagiso Rabada.
Bowling: Henry 10-2-25-2 (1w), de Grandhomme 16-3-43-2, Wagner 13-2-44-0, Patel 2-0-10-0
Toss: South Africa
Series: South Africa lead 1-0
Umpires: Bruce Oxenford (AUS), Rod Tucker (AUS)
Third umpire: Kumar Dharmasena (SRI)
Match referee: David Boon (AUS)