Quinton de Kock, Bavuma put Proteas 81 runs ahead of Kiwis

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Wellington, March 17 (IANS) South Africa rode on half centuries by Quinton de Kock and Temba Bavuma to gain a vital 81-run lead in their first innings as the visitors ended the second day of the second cricket Test at 349/9 in response to New Zealand’s 268 at the Basin Reserve here on Friday.

At stumps, tailenders Vernon Philander (36 not out) and Morne Morkel (31 not out) continued with an unbroken 47-run stand for the final wicket. Quinton de Kock (91) and Bavuma (89) had earlier stitched together a 160-run seventh-wicket partnership to help South Africa recover from a precarious 94/6.

In the morning session, New Zealand were very much on top after taking four quick wickets. But the next wicket came 39 overs later when Jimmy Neesham sent de Kock back. His dismissal, after tea, ended the counter-attack as the Kiwi seamers struggled to get their act together, according to an International Cricket Council (ICC) report.

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Quinton de Kock fell with South Africa 14 runs behind, but Bavuma soldiered on till a 22-run lead had been taken.

Early on in the day, Colin de Grandhomme removed Hashim Amla for 21 then Faf du Plessis for 22. Pacer Tim Southee pitched in with the wicket of Kagiso Rabada, the nightwatchman, for nine and Neil Wagner dismissed Jean Paul Duminy for 16.

After that, it was the de Kock and Bavuma show.

Quinton de Kock started shakily, but as his confidence grew, he stepped up his scoring rate, targeting Southee and Neil Wagner for special treatment. And by the time Neesham got him to edge to B.J. Watling behind the stumps, de Kock had brought South Africa back in the match.

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Bavuma was dropped by de Grandhomme early, and looked completely untroubled till he fell when he hooked a Wagner bouncer to Neesham at square leg.

De Grandhomme and Wagner had three wickets each when play ended for the day, while Southee had two and Neesham one.

Brief Scores: New Zealand: first innings 268 (Henry Nicholls 118, Jeet Raval 36, B.J. Watling 34, Jean Paul Duminy 4/47) vs South Africa: first innings 349/9 (Quinton de Kock 91, Temba Bavuma 89, Vernon Philander 36 not out, Colin de Grandhomme 3/52).



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