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Kiwis strike back in tour opener
26 Oct 2007
By: Richard Dickinson


New Zealand's bowlers put in a highly impressive showing on the second day of their game against a South African Invitation XI, a day which was ended 24 overs early due to bad light. After their batsmen had struggled to 126 for 6 yesterday before being saved by Brendon McCullum and Daniel Vettori, the Kiwi bowlers offered their batsmen some measure of consolation by firing-out the hosts for 156, well over half of which came from Ahmed Amla and wicketkeeper Thami Tsolekile. Only leg-byes also managed to reach double-figures.

The bowlers were right on the button from the word go, the usually free-flowing captain Morne van Wyk being kept quiet by Shane Bond and Chris Martin. Eventually, after a 26-ball 2, he was caught behind off Bond. Martin got in on the act in the 13th, Imraan Khan also presenting McCullum with a catch. The bowler was far from finished, and bowled Zander de Bruyn in his following over to reduce the hosts to 33 for 3.

Davey Jacobs and late call-up Jon Kent did not last long either. Michael Mason and Jacob Oram replaced the openers and while Mason was a little off-the-pace Oram hit his straps instantly, an encouraging sign for a bowler who has struggled for much of the last 3 years. He gave nothing away and removed Jacobs, via another catch to McCullum, and Kent, lbw, in his opening spell.

Then came some element of recovery as Tsolekile joined the senior of the Amla brothers. Vettori, after his exploits with the bat yesterday, started poorly, conceding 10 from his opening over, and Mason, while not all over the place, could not match the pinpoint precision of his fellow seamers. Amla brought-up a reasonably positive 50 from 96 balls, and Tsolekile played a stubborn support hand of 25. Finally, however, Oram broke the stand of 75, as Tsolekile was caught by Michael Papps. Thandi Tshabalala survived 17 deliveries without getting off-the-mark, before he gave McCullum his 4th catch and Oram his 4th wicket in an outstanding 14-over spell where he conceded just 17 runs.

After his poor opening over Vettori had been bowling better, and gained his rewards when he snapped-up the final 3 wickets. Amla had made an excellent 67 when he finally popped a return-catch, Lonwabo Tsotsobe survived 38 balls before the left-arm spinner bowled him, and Ethy Mbhalati was stumped cleanly 2nd ball by McCullum to complete his 5th dismissal. The Kiwis took a 162-run lead but were prevented from building on it that evening by the light. With two days still remaining they have an excellent chance to force a result and will be delighted with their bowling: Bond took just the single wicket but provided constant menace in his 14 overs (costing just 23), and Martin's 13 overs 2 for 25 will more than satisfy the slight Canterbury seamer. Amla, Tsolekile and leg-byes (16) in total provided nearly 70% of the score.

New Zealanders 318
Daniel Vettori 99, Brendon McCullum 46
Ethy Mbhalati 3-50, Yusuf Abdullah 4-81

South African Invitation XI 156
Ahmed Amla 67
Jacob Oram 4-17, Daniel Vettori 3-44

New Zealanders lead by 162 runs on first-innings

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