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New Zealand vs South Africa, 1st Test, Day 2,live cricket score and updates: A century from Henry Nicholls and quickfire knocks from Neil Wagner, Colin de Grandhomme and Tom Blundell helped New Zealand tighten their grip over South Africa.
New Zealand vs South Africa, 1st Test, Day 2, live cricket score and updates:A century from Henry Nicholls and quickfire knocks from Neil Wagner, Colin de Grandhomme and Tom Blundell helped New Zealand tighten their grip over South Africa in the opening Test on the second day of play in Christchurch on Friday. After rolling South Africa for 95 in their first innings, New Zealand resumed day two on 116 for three with Wagner on two after facing 12 balls as the nightwatchman on Thursday and Nicholls on 37. New Zealand ended the middle session at 356 for seven as the wicket flattened into a more suitable batting strip rather than the green-tinged bowlers’ paradise when South Africa were rolled for 95 on the first day. Nicholls was dropped on five and 24, and then gave no chances to South Africa until he edged Duanne Olivier to second slip to be out for 105. During his 163-ball innings, Nicholls put on 75 for the third wicket with Devon Conway, shared in an 80-run stand with nightwatchman Neil Wagner, added 48 with Daryl Mitchell (16) and 34 with Blundell.
New Zealand 356 for 7 (Nicholls 106, Wagner 49, Blundell 41*, Olivier 3-84) lead South Africa 95 (Hamza 25, Henry 7-23) by 261 runs
Henry Nicholls scored his eighth Test century and second score over fifty in his last 11 innings as New Zealand extended their lead over South Africa to 261. He shared in an 80-run partnership with night-watchman Neil Wagner before Colin de Grandhomme and Tom Blundell put on 76 for the seventh wicket, scoring at 5.49 to the over against the second new ball, to all but bat South Africa out of the match.
Undoubtedly, their first innings score of 95 meant South Africa were on the back foot from the outset. But their lack of clear plans and over-reliance on Kagiso Rabada in a four-man attack sans a specialist spinner meant they were unable to control an end or create sufficient chances. New Zealand scored 119 runs in the morning session and 121 after lunch and will be eyeing a big evening session to end the day in complete control.
Wagner was the entertainer of the morning, hitting seven fours and two sixes, all off South Africa’s new-ball pair of Rabada and Glenton Stuurman. He cut Rabada for successive fours in two different overs, showing off perfect weight transfer to the back foot to flay the ball through the unmanned point region, and survived a review for lbw, with HawkEye showing the ball pitched just outside leg stump. Then, he took on Stuurman, who was introduced in the seventh over of the morning. Wagner worked his second delivery off the hip to long leg, drove his third through the covers for four and then top-edged a hook off the penultimate ball of the over for six. That shot brought up the fifty-run stand between Nicholls and Wagner – the third in New Zealand’s innings. South Africa did not manage one partnership more than 33 runs.
The fun didn’t last forever for Wagner. With one to get to reach his second Test half-century, he picked out Rassie van der Dussen at deep square leg as he aimed to flick Rabada for six. At that stage, New Zealand had scored 81 runs off 86 balls in the morning and Nicholls was responsible for just 23.
He continued to collect runs almost unnoticed and reached lunch on 87, after being dropped twice on the first evening. Nicholls scored more than a third of his runs – 40 out of his 105 – in the point/third man region with South Africa never even trying to cut out that option. He brought up his hundred off 156 balls when he square drove Duanne Olivier through backward point, a shot of exquisite timing and placement. In Olivier’s next over, Nicholls reached for another drive and nicked off to first slip.
Nicholls was the second batter to be dismissed after lunch after Mitchell became Stuurman’s first Test wicket, when he edged a full delivery to Elgar at first slip. At that point, South Africa may have been eyeing an opportunity to run through New Zealand’s lower-order but de Grandhomme had other ideas.
He scored a 42-ball 45 which included taking 11 runs off a Stuurman over with a swivel pull six and a whip through square leg, getting a thick inside edge off Rabada that raced past Kyle Verreynne for four and then hitting Stuurman for back-to-back fours through the covers and square leg. Blundell did more than just stand and watch. He also unfurled a cover drive off Stuurman after two pin-point boundaries off Olivier. Elgar had run out of ideas to stem the tide and turned to Aiden Markram’s part-time offspin with the second new ball just 9.4 overs bowled. It may have seemed an insult to the quicks but it worked. De Grandhomme holed out to long-on to give Markram his first wicket in this format.