South Africa first innings 238 (Hashim Amla 62, Graeme Smith 53, Jacques Rudolph 52, Chris Martin 4-56) New Zealand 273 (Brendon McCullum 48, Daniel Vettori 46, Vernon Philander 4-72) South Africa second innings 268-3 (Graeme Smith 115 and Jacques Kallis unbeaten 107, Doug Bracewell 3 for 53) lead by 233 runs.
South Africa was at the driving seat on the closure of the third day in the first Test against New Zealand while leading by 233 with seven wickets in hand.
Earlier, the home side started at 243 for the loss of nine wickets at the close of the second day’s play, Trent Boult and Chris Martin were at the crease with 8 and 0. The duo took the score to 273 when the later was caught by Hashim Amla off Dale Steyn for 5. Their innings was restricted to 273 as Boult remained unbeaten for 33 runs when the home side was bowled out at 273 in 88.2 overs.
Philander was the star performer with four wickets, Dale Steyn and Morne Mrkal shared two as Imran Tahir and Kallis held one wicket each.
The home side got a lead of 35 runs in the first innings which was not enough to change the fate of the match.
South Africa started their second innings with a deficit and they started off reasonably well by contributing 45 runs for the first wicket. Alviro Petersen lost his wicket for 25 when he was caught at mid off by Tim Southee on the bowling of Doug Bracewell in the 12th over.
Hashim Amla came in next, found himself vulnerable and survived just four deliveries as he was caught by Martin Guptill on the bowling of Bracewell for just two runs. The second wicket was lost at 47 runs as Kallis came in next and joined the experienced skipper Smith who was negotiating well at the other corner of the wicket.
The duo steadied the innings and achieved the first hundred of the innings on the first ball of the 34th over when Smith dispatched four off Bracewell. They started off casually and enhanced the scoring rate later in the innings as both the batsmen decided to attack.
Smith got his fifty in the 36th over and Kallis achieved that in the 46th over and enhanced the run rate later on. Ross Taylor inducted seven bowlers to dislodge the partnership but the batsmen did not provide any chance.
Smith was the first one to get his 24th hundred on the third ball of the 71st over but lost his wicket on the first ball of the 82nd over when he was bowled by Bracewell for 115 off 234 balls with 13 fours.
The third wicket contributed 200 runs and brought prosperity to the innings as Kallis posted his 42nd hundred on the third ball of the 83rd over. Jcques Rudolph joined in and saw the day through with Kallis without losing any further wicket.
The Proteas were heading towards a decisive lead as they already were 233 runs ahead after losing just three wickets at the end of the second day’s play. Kallis and Rudolph were unbeaten for 107 and 13 runs respectively after 89 overs were bowled.
New Zealand has to perform well on the fourth day to bounce back in the match otherwise they will be at the receiving end.