Kallis & Amla torment NZ again

New Zealand once again had no answer to the brilliance of Jacques Kallis and his trusted ally Hashim Amla, as South Africa piled on the misery for the tourists finishing the day on 272-3, already a lead of 84.

From the moment Kallis joined Amla in the middle, the same combination that took the first Test away from New Zealand, the home side looked to assert their domination on the injury ravaged opposition. Kallis was in an authoritative mood, and drove, cut and pulled his way to a 29th Test century, level with the great Donald Bradman, with barely a technical fault in sight.

Amla was content, as in the first Test, to enjoy his partners fluency from the non-striker’s end, and when he was offered the opportunity to seek out the boundary line, he did disappoint. His flicks on the leg-side are his trademark, so too today was his punches through mid off with minimum effort and follow through.

With Shane Bond missing, the onus fell onto Chris Martin to try to get his side back in the contest after their innings was finished off with the fourth ball of the morning, Ntini finding the edge of Martin’s bat. Craig Cumming was obviously in no position to resume his innings after his blow to his cheekbone yesterday. He has since had metal plates inserted into his cheekbone, and naturally everybody will hope his recovery is a swift one.

Martin’s opening spell was excellent, his bounding run up, exaggerated take off, and decent pace was enough to continue Graeme Smith’s miserable form. For the third consecutive innings he was bowled by Martin, his indecision in either leaving the ball or playing at it resulted in an inside edge back onto the stumps, not an uncommon style of dismissal for the captain which will consequently have people again questioning his technique early on in his innings.

Smith’s partner Herschelle Gibbs was accompanied in the middle by his runner, Mark Boucher, after an injury to his knee yesterday left it swollen, and a terrible mix-up between Boucher and Amla nearly ended the latter’s innings when on just two. Instead, Lou Vincent, who certainly adds quality to New Zealand’s fielding, missed the stumps and the ball ran away for four overthrows.

Gibbs’ footwork is at times best described as ordinary, but hampered by his knee problem it turned into non-existent, and so it proved to be his downfall when Martin moved one back in and removed his off stump. Gibbs looked down at the pitch in dismay, suggesting it kept much lower than he had anticipated, when in reality the ball crashed into the top of off stump off just back of a good length.

There was the end of New Zealand’s success for 51 overs, as Amla and Kallis punished them for 220 runs, coming at a good rate aswell.

Martin found that he had no back up, even the usually stingy Daniel Vettori had no control over the pair, and as soon as he introduced himself into the attack Kallis went on the attack, pulling a long hop over the boundary ropes. Iain O’Brien has so far struggled to come to terms with the levels of Test cricket, his good deliveries that bounced and left the batsmen were rather too quickly followed up a four ball that these two batsmen were not about to miss out on.

A change of tactic for New Zealand saw them attempting to bounce out the batsmen in search of a breakthrough. Desperate times need desperate measures, but Kallis especially, is an excellent player of the short ball and hooked away, hooking downwards and picking up easy runs.

Mark Gillespie was making his Test debut, and will no doubt need time to find his stride, yet he got his first Test wicket, removing Kallis for 131 with a ball that jagged back in and struck the South African on his front pad.

Ashwell Prince and Amla saw things through to the close, with bad light again ending the day’s play without the full allocation bowled. Tomorrow’s play will once again get underway half an hour, and Hashim Amla will go in search of his third Test century, he needs just a further 11 runs.

New Zealand 188 all out
Craig Cumming 48*, Stephen Fleming 43
Dale Steyn 4-52

South Africa 272-3
Jacques Kallis 131, Hashim Amla 89*
Chris Martin 2-56

South Africa lead by 84 runs

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