Vernon Philander continued his meteoric rise with a career-best return as South Africa won the second Test against the BLACKCAPS by nine wickets with more than two days to spare.
The Western Province fast-medium bowler snared test best figures of six for 44 to help dismiss New Zealand for 168 in their second innings shortly after lunch on the third day at Seddon Park.
That left the tourists requiring 101 to seal victory and go 1-0 up in the three-test series ahead of the final match starting in Wellington next Friday.
South Africa duly knocked off the runs in quick time for the loss of one wicket just before tea, with skipper Graeme Smith unbeaten on 55 and Hashim Amla on 46 not out.
That left Philander to reflect on an outstanding performance from both a personal and collective viewpoint after the 26-year-old ran through the New Zealand middle and lower order.
Maintaining an impeccable line, Philander was kept waiting only by a defiant Kane Williamson, who propped up the innings with a fighting 77.
He was too classy for the home team’s batsmen, claiming his return off 15.5 overs to bag the first 10-wicket match haul of a brief career which has now featured 45 wickets in six tests at a scarcely believable average of 13.6.
Philander had taken four for 70 in New Zealand’s first innings of 185 before the hosts battled back into the contest via a five-wicket return for Mark Gillespie when South Africa made 253 in response.
But New Zealand’s backs were already pressed hard against the wall when they returned to Seddon Park this morning on 65 for four, still three runs short of requiring the tourists to bat a second time.
Philander already had two wickets to his name after striking late on the second day when New Zealand collapsed to seven for three.
Williamson, who resumed on 41 alongside Daniel Vettori, took close to an hour to raise his fourth test half-century when he pushed for one through the covers off Morne Morkel.
He and Vettori had few alarms during a stand of 35 until Vettori, on 21, was undone by Jacques Kallis, the veteran allrounder producing some extra bounce off a still placid pitch to clip the batsman’s gloves and present wicketkeeper Mark Boucher with a regulation catch.
Kruger van Wyk played one or two delightful strokes to reach 20 as he and Williamson advanced the total to 141 when Philander dipped a ball back in late to knock back the off stump when the batsman shouldered arms.
Van Wyk’s dismissal an over before lunch was followed in the first over after the interval when Williamson’s dogged 253-minute effort ended when Philander found the perfect length and a touch of sideways movement to entice an edge behind.
Williamson had faced 193 deliveries and hit 10 boundaries in a battling performance against arguably the best seam attack doing the rounds in world cricket today.
In the very next over Doug Bracewell was bowled by a reserve swinging delivery from Morkel then Philander made short work of Mark Gillespie and Chris Martin to end the innings.
Day 2: BLACKCAPS lose way after fighting back through Gillespie
South Africa remain in charge of the second test in Hamiltion despite New Zealand fast bowler Mark Gillespie enjoying a comeback to treasure.
The 32-year-old Wellingtonian snared test-best figures of five for 59 to help dismiss the tourists for 253 in their first innings at Seddon Park only for South Africa to hit back hard in the final session.
New Zealand had confronted a first innings deficit of 68 runs, which was magnified considerably when they went to stumps on the second day at 65 for four in their second innings.
The hosts’ top order was swept aside as the Black Caps were reduced to seven for three inside five overs after Rob Nicol was bowled off his pads, Brendon McCullum was trapped leg before wicket and Martin Guptill chipped a ball straight to shortish mid wicket.
Skipper Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson put their heads down to ride out the storm and they looked to have found calmer waters until Taylor was undone by a furiously fast inswinging yorker from Dale Steyn 14 balls before the close
Taylor’s dismissal leg before wicket for 17, scored with great care over 105 minutes, left Williamson to resume tomorrow with Daniel Vettori.
Williamson looked composed in reaching 41 with seven fours in a stay approaching two hours while Vettori has yet to get off the mark.
Coming on the back of a belligerent 27 with the bat when the Black Caps folded for 185 on the first day, Gillespie’s haul today marked a magnificent return in just his fourth test, and his first since December, 2008.
He produced a searing spell of four for 23 off six overs this morning after South Africa resumed on 27 for two, slicing through their middle order in an inspired performance as the tourists stumbled to 88 for six.
But their lower order held firm, superbly marshalled by AB de Villiers, who stroked a high quality 83 as New Zealand were kept waiting after threatening to gain an unlikely first innings advantage.
De Villiers and wicketkeeper Mark Boucher, who made 24, put on 63 for the seventh wicket before the tail wagged defiantly when the eighth, ninth and 10th wicket partnerships each contributed 34 runs to the team’s cause.
Fast bowler Morne Morkel was a particular nuisance for the hosts, hitting 35 not out off 44 balls at No 10 to ensure South Africa ended up with a more than handy first innings lead.
New Zealand lacked a killer’s touch after Gillespie ripped out the middle order when he had Hashim Amla snapped up in the gully by Kane Williamson for 16, strangled Jacques Kallis down the leg side for six thanks to a fine catch by wicketkeeper Kruger van Wyk, trapped opener Alviro Peterson leg before wicket for 29 and enticed a regulation edge behind from Jacques Rudolph for one.
South Africa had lost four for 25 and were teetering before de Villiers rebuilt the innings with a stylish knock.
De Villiers timed the ball sweetly from the time he arrived in the middle, quickly took 10 runs off one over from seamer Brent Arnel and then settled into his work with the minimum of fuss.
He and Boucher advanced the total to 151 before Boucher’s stay ended when Gillespie returned for a new spell and bowled him off an inside edge, earning the bowler the 14th haul of five wickets or more in his first-class career.
Any hopes New Zealand had of sweeping aside the lower order dissolved as Vernon Philander hung around to make a handy 14, Morkel successfully sought out the boundary and even No 11 Imran Tahir swung away with some reward to make 16.
De Villiers was the ninth batsmen to be dismissed, bowled by spinner Daniel Vettori after hitting 10 boundaries in 187 minutes.
Day 1: BLACKCAPS falter after promising start
The BLACKCAPS suffered a mid-innings collapse as the second test against South Africa underwent a rapid facelift in Hamilton.
From a highly promising 133 for two the home side lost five wickets for no runs in the space of 19 balls before being dismissed for 185 in their first innings on the first day at Seddon Park.
New Zealand at least had time to inflict some damage of their own, reducing South Africa to 27 for two by the close, with fast bowler Chris Martin removing skipper Graeme Smith for 13 to an outstanding diving catch to wicketkeeper Kruger van Wyk, who also accepted an offering from nightwatchman Dale Steyn.
Alviro Petersen and Hashim Amla are set to resume tomorrow on eight and two respectively.
But today will be remembered for the ruthlessness shown by South Africa as they climbed back into the contest at a time when the New Zealanders looked in almost complete control.
Captain Ross Taylor and Brendon McCullum were threatening to guide the hosts to a substantial tally until their stand of 89 for the third wicket was broken via a McCullum hook shot which was gobbled up by Jacques Rudolph stationed in the deep behind square leg.
McCullum had used the shot sparingly but profitably in reaching 61 in more than three hours but he took up the challenge once too often, a rising delivery from fast bowler Steyn catching the top edge of the bat en route to Rudolph.
Taylor himself departed in the very next over for 44, squirting a ball from Vernon Philander to his South African opposite Smith at first slip, and suddenly the slide was on.
Kane Williamson, Daniel Vettori and Doug Bracewell were all brushed aside for ducks as the Black Caps capitulated to 133 for seven, Williamson gloving another short ball from Steyn to Smith, Vettori being bowled by a gem of a delivery from Philander and Bracewell tickling one behind off the same bowler.
In his comeback test after an absence of more than three years Mark Gillespie swung the bat to make a highly entertaining 27 despite being stuck a painful blow on the left forearm by Steyn.
He and van Wyk showed commendable resolve to put on 43 for the eighth wicket, with Gillespie hitting three fours and two sixes in unorthodox fashion before being snapped up by Petersen, who hauled in an excellent catch at mid wicket off legspinner Imran Tahir.
In his second test innings, Van Wyk made 21 valuable runs before Morkel trapped him leg before wicket, a mode of dismissal Tahir used to remove Brent Arnel to close the innings.
New Zealand’s last eight wicket had tumbled for 52 runs in less than 13 overs after South Africa persisted with an attack based on intimidation.
The short, sharp ball was employed to devastating affect despite the benign nature of a Seddon Park pitch which had offered the tourists scant encouragement when they opted to field first under cloudy skies.
There was minimal sideways movement on offer even if the surface sported a green tinge although New Zealand openers Rob Nicol, who made two, and Martin Guptill, bowled off an inside edge for 22, both departed in the opening 20 overs.
McCullum, who was struck a nasty blow on the right hand by Morkel when he was on 23, and Taylor established themselves with care and were on top of things when rain forced the teams from the field just before 2pm with New Zealand on 94 for two.
The two batsmen settled in again once play resumed two hours later , with McCullum raising his 22nd test half-century by hooking Morkel for six over square leg before creaming the very next ball from the tall fast bowler for four through the covers.
Then McCullum hooked once too often and South Africa immediately went in for the kill.
Steyn got better as the day progressed to finish with figures of three for 49 off 18 overs while Philander had four for 70 off 15 and Tahir two for 12 off 5.2.