Bedingham leads South Africa’s fight but Jamieson keeps NZ ahead

South Africa

Lunch South Africa 162 and 62 for 2 (Hamza 31*, van Tonder 26*, Henry 1-10) need another 467 runs to beat New Zealand 511 and 179 for 4 dec (Williamson 109, Brand 2-52)

After New Zealand expectedly declared their second innings overnight on 179 for 4, their bowlers immediately found assistance under overcast skies. Openers Neil Brand and Edward Moore were undone early as South Africa slipped to 5 for 2 in the fourth over. But Hamza and van Tonder hung around with a 57-run stand off 149 balls as the visitors went into lunch on 62 for 2 still requiring 467 runs to overhaul New Zealand’s target.

While Southee troubled Moore in the first over by curling the ball both ways, Henry seemingly had Brand caught behind with his second delivery with Tom Blundell taking a stunning catch to his left. The South Africa captain, however, reviewed immediately and it was ascertained that the ball didn’t take his outside edge and instead went off his pad. The lbw was checked too which returned umpire’s call on both impact and ball-tracking. But because the on-field umpire had given it out caught behind and not lbw, the decision was overturned.

Brand’s stay at the crease was short-lived though as Southee breached his defences with an incoming beauty. He got the ball to jag in from the around-the-wicket angle and Brand, unsure whether to play at the ball or leave it, was late and saw his stumps in a mess.

Four balls later, Moore drove a full Henry ball outside off uppishly to Conway who took the easiest of catches at extra cover.

At that point, with the ball hooping around and the batters unsure, a collapse was on the cards. Hamza and van Tonder both looked ruffled up initially but held their end. Van Tonder, on a pair, got his first runs in Test cricket with a push past mid-on. Hamza, who looked solid in the first innings, was beaten first ball but was assured in his footwork.

Hamza got the first four of the innings in the 11th over, a firm punch through covers off Kyle Jamieson before cutting Southee square soon after. Van Tonder had his moments – an edge falling short of second slip and a number of plays and misses – but kept going. The duo soon brought up the first 50-run stand for South Africa in the Test and moved to lunch unscathed.

It is a long way from here but the two will hope to continue for as long as possible as South Africa chase what is an improbable target.

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