Recent Match Report – South Africa vs New Zealand 1st Test 2021/22


New Zealand won the first Test by an innings and 276 runs, with the fast bowler becoming their highest Test wicket-taker at home

New Zealand 482 (Nicholls 105, Blundell 96) beat South Africa 95 (Hamza 25, Henry 7-23) and 111 (Bavuma 41, Southee 5-35) by an innings and 276 runs

New Zealand completed a convincing innings-and-276-run win over South Africa, two-and-a-half hours into the third day in Christchurch, to take an unassailable 1-nil lead in the two-match series. The result means New Zealand have given themselves an opportunity to complete a first series win over South Africa and have registered only their fifth Test win over South Africa in 46 meetings, 18 years after their last victory – in Auckland in 2004. The loss was the visitors’ second-biggest ever in the format.
The home attack dominated proceedings in conditions that remained seamer-friendly. Tim Southee found swing and became New Zealand’s leading wicket-taker at home, Matt Henry moved the ball off the seam and finished with match figures of 9 for 55 and Neil Wagner and Kyle Jamieson challenged South Africa with the short ball.

South Africa bettered their first innings score of 95 but that will be scant consolation for a dismal performance and defeat in seven sessions. They lost 7 for 77 on the third morning, demonstrating many of the same lapses in judgement they displayed in their first innings. Primarily, their indecision in whether to go forward or stay in their crease and their difficulties in navigating the moving ball against quality bowlers in tough conditions was their undoing.

After resuming on 34 for 3, South Africa lost their fourth wicket on the second ball of the morning. Rassie van der Dussen was bowled through the bat-pad gap by a22 Henry delivery that nipped back in off the seam as he pressed forward to defend. New Zealand could see into the South African lower-order from there, especially with Zubayr Hamza’s still hesitant footwork. Henry found his edge early, but the chance fell short of gully.

South Africa scored 12 runs in the first 10 overs of the morning as New Zealand built pressure. Jamieson was the beneficiary of that squeeze when he forced Hamza into defending off the back foot to a ball that angled in form fourth-stumps and had him caught at first slip.

Bavuma and Kyle Verreynne managed 10 runs off the next five overs before they took on Henry’s short ball with some reward. Bavuma top-edged a hook over long-leg, Verreynne cut a wide ball through point for four and Bavuma sliced another short, wide ball through the covers. The pair looked as good as South Africa have all match when Verryenne drove Jamieson through the covers and hit him aerially over the two gully fielders New Zealand installed for the edge and their partnership grew to 41, South Africa’s highest of the match.

Wagner’s introduction changed that. He reviewed for caught behind when Bavuma attempted a leg glance off the second ball he bowled but Ultra Edge did not provide enough evidence to determine an edge and then had Bavuma trapped lbw with a full, swinging delivery that beat the inside-edge and struck him on the front pad. Bavuma’s 41 was South Africa’s highest individual score of the match.

Verreynne was out in the next over when he played away from his body to a Southee ball that swung away and got an edge to third slip. Colin de Grandhomme took the catch to give Southee his 200th Test wicket at home. Southee drew level with Richard Hadlee on 201 Test wickets in New Zealand when Kagiso Rabada failed to get properly forward and popped a full inswinger to Jamieson at mid-on and, with South Africa eight wickets down, New Zealand gained an extra 15 minutes to finish them off before lunch.

Thirteen minutes into the extended session, Marco Jansen looked to carve a Wagner short ball through the off side, off the back foot and nicked off to Tom Blundell. That earned New Zealand another 15 minutes to claim the last wicket. Wagner found Olivier’s edge three times in a row but it didn’t carry and it was left to Southee to finish off. Tom Latham half-heartedly reviewed when Southee hit Glenton Stuurman’s back pad and Hawkeye showed the ball would have gone on to his legstump. That gave Southee his 14th Test five-for and saw him go past Hadlee as New Zealand’s highest Test wicket-taker at home.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent

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