A fighting unbeaten half-century from Colin de Grandhomme in the final session on Day 2 helped New Zealand recover from the early blows to post 157/5, but they were still 207 runs behind South Africa’s first-innings total of 364 on Saturday in the second Test at the Hagley Oval here.
Earlier, the Blackcaps’ bowlers started the day on the front foot, exerting pressure and picking up four South African wickets in the opening session. Matt Henry continued his fine form from the first Test as the hosts picked up two crucial wickets early in the morning, dismissing Temba Bavuma (29) and Kyle Verreynne (4).
Neil Wagner added three wickets to his tally after picking up wickets of Rassie van der Dussen (35), Wiaan Mulder (14) and Kagiso Rabada (6), finishing his spell with a four-wicket haul.
Keshav Maharaj and Marco Jansen built a strong 64-run partnership for the ninth wicket, before Kyle Jamieson finally got the breakthrough and wrapped up the South African innings at 364.
The New Zealand innings got off to the worst possible start as they lost captain Tom Latham (0) in the first over to Kasigo Rabada. The speedster struck once again as he clean bowled the other opener, Will Young (3).
Devon Conway (16) was the next to depart to Marco Jansen, edging one to the wicketkeeper down the leg side. The tall seamer continued his good spell by picking up the crucial wicket of Henry Nicholls (39) who looked in good touch until he decided to cut one over gully but ended up finding the man halfway from the boundary at backward point.
Rabada came back into the spell with the hosts reeling and ensured he put the icing on the cake with a brilliant fast bowling display which earned him his third wicket of the innings in the form of Tom Blundell (6).
Coming in at 91/5, de Grandhomme picked up the the pieces and launched a counter-attack against the South African bowlers hitting seven boundaries and two sixes to bring up a 36-ball fifty. He slowed down a bit with the introduction of spin but finished the day with a healthy strike-rate of 88.52.
The visitors lead by 207 runs with Daryl Mitchell (29 not out) and de Grandhomme (54 not out) at the crease.
New Zealand had won the opening Test at the same venue by an innings and 276 runs.
Brief scores: South Africa 364 in 133 overs (Dean Elgar 41, Sarel Erwee 108, Aiden Markram 42, Marco Jansen 37 not out, Keshav Maharaj 36; Matt Henry 3/90, Neil Wagner 4/102) vs New Zealand 157/5 in 45 overs (Colin de Grandhomme 54 not out; Kagiso Rabada 3/37, Marco Jansen 2/48).