The Proteas’ good day with the ball on the opening day of the second Test against New Zealand in Wellington was soured late on by some indifferent batting.
Having bowled the hosts out for 268 on Thursday, the stubborn opening pair of Dean Elgar and Stephen Cook merely needed to survive an awkward seven overs before the close.
But when you’re Cook, nothing goes according to plan at the moment.
The struggling opener’s horrid tour continued as he fished outside off and was caught a second slip.
Cook was nowhere near the pitch of the Tim Southee delivery, an indication of how poorly he’s moving at the crease.
He’s made six runs in three innings on this tour.
That said, Elgar (9) – who made 140 and 89 in Dunedin – didn’t cover himself in glory with his dismissal.
The left-hander really just needed to keep his discipline outside off but he also chased a delivery from Colin de Grandhomme and was caught at slip.
As a result, the Proteas will resume on 24/2 on Friday, their reply hardly a picture of health.
South Africa were relentless in the first two sessions as they reduced the Black Caps to 101/5.
Morne Morkel (2/82) set the tone with an excellent away-drifter to Tom Latham (8) before Kagiso Rabada (2/59), bowling first change, immediately made an impact.
He took the key wicket of captain Kane Williamson (2) by trapping him in front before Quinton de Kock’s brilliant diving catch took care of 34-year-old debutant Neil Broom for a duck.
Keshav Maharaj did his part with two scalps as well.
But South Africa lost some momentum as 25-year-old Henry Nicholls played beautifully in front of the wicket to score a maiden Test century.
He had been under pressure coming into this game yet responded in perfect fashion, targeting Morkel in particular.
The Proteas though regained control through an unlikely source: JP Duminy.
The experienced middle-order batter gave a timely reminder of his ability with ball as he ended with figures of four for 47.
His off-spin eventually accounted for Nicholls as well.
However, given their poor start with the bat, South Africa could regret gifting the lower order vital runs after they had them 222/8.