South Africa 191-7, (Hashim Amla 62, Graeme Smith 53, Jacques Rudolph unbeaten 46, Martin 3-34).
Chris Martin made the difference by grabbing three wickets in just four deliveries which restricted South Africa to 191 for the loss of seven wickets as New Zealand takes command of the first Test.
The Black Caps re-emerged after their dismal performance in the limited over games where they were beaten 1-2 in Twenty20s and faced an embarrassing white wash in the three One Day Internationals.
The first Test is being played at University Oval, Dunedin from March 7, 2012 and the Kiwis have to prove their worth at their home grounds. The match was delayed due to rain and just 59 overs play was possible on the opening day of the match.
Earlier, Ross Taylor won the toss after his return to the cricket fields and put the Proteas in to bat keeping in view the moisture around and with the anticipation of the pitch to get slower with the progress of the match.
The match was started late when skipper Graeme Smith and Alviro Petersen opened the innings in a cautious manner while managing nine runs in the first five overs. The scoring rate picked up from the sixth over when eleven runs were scored which included couple of boundaries as well.
The home side got the first break through when Petersen was declared leg before wicket off Trent Boult for 11 after Taylor asked for review and succeeded. The first wicket fell at 34 as the concrete batsman, Hashim Amla came in next and opened his account with a single. Smith accelerated the scoring in the 12th over which accounted for 12 runs with two boundaries as Amla kept on consolidating at the other end.
The Black Caps controlled the flow of runs instantly and just thirteen runs were scored in the next nine overs. Smith achieved his fifty on the fourth delivery of the 25th over by sending the ball over the square for a four. He became the first victim of Chris Martin on the fifth ball of the 27th over when Rob Nicol held his catch at cover for 53 scored off 74 balls with 6 fours.
The 27th over of the innings was recorded as a wicket maiden and the match took a dramatic turn when martin got rid of the two prominent batsmen of the Proteas on the successive deliveries of his next over. Jacques Kallis was caught brilliantly by Taylor in the first slip on the first ball of the 29th over without opening his account. AB de Villiers faced the same fate when he was adjudged lbw on the very next ball as Amla kept wondering at the other end.
South Africa was reeling at 90 for four wickets when Rudolf came in the centre and consolidated the innings with Amla. The pace of runs was increased by them and the boundaries started coming easily and especially ball crossed the rope thrice in the 38th over.
The duo boosted the score to 156 as Amla was caught in the first slip by the agile Ross Taylor for 62 off 102 balls with one six and 8 fours. The home side get hold of the game by taking two more wickets with the addition of just 13 runs. The visitors had reached at 191 runs after losing seven wickets at the close of the play, Rudolph and Vernon were unbeaten for 46 and four runs respectively.
Chris Martin was the hero of the day with three wickets for 34 runs as Boult, Doug Bracewell and Daniel Vettori claimed one wicket each.
South Africa will try to accumulate quite a few runs with the courtesy of Jacques Rudolph and the late order batsmen while New Zealand will be eager to rip through the remaining batsmen at the earliest.