Ken Borland

By Ken Borland

Journalist


Verreynne, Rabada help put Proteas on brink of levelling NZ series

South Africa will need to pick up six wickets on the fifth and final day of the second Test to square the series on Tuesday.


Kyle Verreynne went to a superb maiden Test century and Kagiso Rabada was explosive with both bat and ball to put South Africa in firm control of the second Test against New Zealand on the fourth day at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch on Monday.

Verreynne’s 136 not out, a magnificent innings combining bravery, tenacity, composure and skill, carried the Proteas to 354/9 declared in their second innings.

It allowed them to set New Zealand the daunting target of 426, which has never been successfully chased in Test cricket before, and the home side had struggled to 94/4 at stumps on the penultimate day.

Maharaj strikes

Rabada removed both openers, Will Young (0) and Tom Latham (1) in his first two overs and left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj then began to weave his magic as he bowled both Henry Nicholls (7) and Daryl Mitchell (24) with brilliant deliveries.

Rabada ended the day with 2/17 in eight overs, while Maharaj bowled 16 overs and claimed 2/32.

Devon Conway was the one batsman to frustrate the Proteas as he showed plenty of determination, sticking around for 127 deliveries and reaching 60 not out.

South Africa began the fourth day on 140/5, just 211 ahead, and Verreynne and Wiaan Mulder had to show great composure and skill to get through the crucial first hour.

They took their sixth-wicket stand to 78 before Mulder fell for a valuable 35 on the first drinks break, wicketkeeper Tom Blundell taking a fine diving catch off Kyle Jamieson.

South Africa took lunch on 232/7 and a remarkable second session followed as Verreynne and a ferocious Rabada were in rampant form with the bat.

Rabada blasted a career-best 47 off just 34 balls with four sixes, while Verreynne also cut loose as 69 runs were thrashed in the first eight overs after the break.

New Zealand’s frustration did not end either with Rabada’s dismissal, as Verreynne added another 57 runs with Maharaj and Lutho Sipamla before the declaration came at the tea break.

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