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Rabada, Jansen ensure SA retain control at Hagley Oval

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Kagiso Rabada and Marco Jansen shared five wickets between them to ensure South Africa finished Day 2 exactly like Day 1 - in control - at Hagley Oval. That idea may have been outlandish based on how the day began, but a Jansen-Maharaj ninth-wicket stand extended South Africa's first-innings total after which the same pair dismantled New Zealand's top-order. At stumps, New Zealand were still in arrears of 207 runs, but were on the recovery path courtesy Colin de Grandhomme's counter-attacking half-century.

South Africa made an erroneous start to the day after Sarel Erwee's fine century gave them the upper hand on Day 1. Day 2 however, came bearing a different story as Matt Henry and Neil Wagner combined to rattle the middle-order. Henry started off by getting a full ball to sneak in under Temba Bavuma's vertical bat to break the overnight partnership between him and Rassie van Der Dussen. In Henry's next over, Kyle Verreynne hung his bat out to a ball on the fifth stump line and paid the price for it. Van der Dussen and Wiaan Mulder dragged the team without more damage until the drinks break but New Zealand soon made inroads. Neil Wagner picked the other two wickets to fall in the session.

Henry added Rabada's scalp to leave South Africa eight down early in the second session, just when a brief shower led to a 15-minute break. When the teams returned, the expectation was for New Zealand to mow down what was left of South Africa's batting swiftly, but Jansen and Maharaj did not oblige. Instead, Jansen got into a fiery duel with Wagner, and came out on top - pulling away the repeated bumpers from the left-arm pacer. Maharaj also reaped rewards of Wagner's insistence of keeping it short, as the duo frustrated the home side with a part-brave, part-defiant stand that pushed South Africa to 364.

New Zealand suffered early with the bat as Rabada ensured the late momentum with the bat was not squandered away early. He had Tom Latham caught down the leg side in the first over and then had Will Young fishing outside the off stump and perishing. But Devon Conway and Henry Nicholls aimed to arrest the slide. They took the team to safety at the Tea break and resumed astutely in the final session, even as they survived deliveries close to the outside edge, as well as close LBW appeals. After all of that, however, was fleeting. Conway became the second batter to get caught playing down the leg-side - a wicket for Marco Jansen that came very much against the run of play.

Henry Nicholls then helped New Zealand quickly breakaway from the pressure situation, but he himself fell to the temptation of cutting a short and wide ball - right after Dean Elgar strategically placed at backward point. When Tom Blundell shouldered arms to an incoming Rabada delivery and walked back bowled for just six runs, New Zealand had lost half their side for only 91 runs on the board.

New Zealand found a semblance of recovery through the sixth-wicket partnership between Henry Nicholls and Colin de Grandhomme, with the latter counterpunching rather effectively to throw a fired up South Africa bowling attack off guard. Mulder and Lutho Sipamla went short against the broad-shouldered allrounder and got hit all around the ground in his entertaining innings.

De Grandhomme got to a 39-ball half-century that included seven fours and two sixes. It took the nagging pressure off New Zealand's shoulder and helped quickly eat into the deficit. As the light began to fade towards the end of the day, De Grandhomme opted to minimise the risk of another wicket and shut shop to defend away the last few overs. He got to stumps unbeaten on 54 off 61 while New Zealand had 157/5 on board.

Brief Scores: New Zealand 157/5 (Colin de Grandhomme 54, Henry Nicholls 39; Kagiso Rabada 3-37, Marco Jansen 2-48) trail South Africa 364 (Sarel Erwee 108, Aiden Markram 42; Neil Wagner 4-104, Matt Henry 3-90) by 207 runs

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