New Zealand fight back

After a disconcerting first day of their tour match against the Rest of South Africa at Benoni, New Zealand have fought back strongly on the second day and shown some promising signs for the upcoming test series against South Africa.

Resuming the day on what from a New Zealand point of view could almost be described as an embarrassing 355-3, the Rest of South Africa lost their last 7 wickets for 40 runs in the morning session as the New Zealand bowlers were a lot more threatening than they had been throughout a fairly harmless first day. The magnificent partnership of over 200 between captain Neil McKenzie and JP Duminy eventually came to an end with the score at 359, Duminy caught by Stephen Fleming off the bowling of Chris Martin for 127. Martin followed that up with another wicket not long afterwards and suddenly it was 363-5. It looked briefly as though another partnership was being formed between McKenzie and Thami Tsolekile with the score reaching 385 for no further loss. But then Tsolekile fell to the returning Jacob Oram, the wicket-keeper giving Fleming his second catch of the day. It was a well deserved wicket for Oram, who finished with impressive figures of 1-46 from 21 overs with 10 maidens.

When Robin Peterson was run out not long afterwards and McKenzie’s gentle reminder to the South African selectors of 141 runs came to an end at the hands of James Franklin, what looked like a score of 500 suddenly looked like struggling to reach 400. And that’s the way it panned out, Franklin taking the last two wickets to give himself 4-80 for the innings as the Rest of South Africa were dismissed for 395.

New Zealand’s batting effort started as shakily as their first day bowling display as they found themselves 26-2. Michael Papps’s comeback innings produced just six runs while Jamie How did only five runs better. Garnett Kruger and Monde Zondeki took a wicket each.

But then New Zealand for the second time got their act together. Peter Fulton and Stephen Fleming built a partnership which by the end of the day stood unbroken at 133, Fulton playing his way through to 34 at a rate which compared to his partner was extremely pedestrian. At the end of the day Fleming stood on 96 not out, having faced the same number of deliveries, and having struck 15 fours and four sixes. This meant that 84 of his runs had been scored in boundaries.

It was an encouraging day for New Zealand, with the impressive bowling comeback and the fact that their captain seems to be in superb form with the bat. They will be hoping to bat through most of tomorrow’s third day, giving their batsmen plenty of opportunities to find some form ahead of the tough three-match test series looming on the horizon.

Rest of South Africa 395
Neil McKenzie 141, JP Duminy 127
James Franklin 4-80, Chris Martin 2-74

New Zealand 159-2
Stephen Fleming 96 no, Peter Fulton 36 no
Monde Zondeki 1-33, Garnett Kruger 1-44

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