New Zealand vs South Africa 2017: 1st Test, day 3, 5 Talking Points

DUNEDIN, NEW ZEALAND - MARCH 10:  Dean Elgar of South Africa bats during day three of the First Test match between New Zealand and South Africa at University Oval on March 10, 2017 in Dunedin, New Zealand.  (Photo by Dianne Manson/Getty Images)
Elgar and Amla helped South Africa to 38/1 at stumps on Day 3

New Zealand earned a hard-fought 33-run lead on Day 3 of the first Test at Dunedin before South Africa played out 18 overs for 38 runs with the loss of the wicket of Stephen Cook for nought.

Kane Williamson posted a fine hundred, his 16th in Tests, and BJ Watling and Neil Wagner hit valuable knocks to help the hosts to a lead of 33 in the first innings. Keshav Maharaj was the pick of the South African bowlers with a maiden fifer to his name.

A horrible error in judgement saw Stephen Cook walk off without reviewing after being adjudged caught behind off Boult when the RTS and Hotspot showed no edge. Amla and Elgar played out the rest of the overs, mostly bowled by spinners, due to bad light.

A fire alarm went off the in the stadium six overs into the South African second innings and players and fans were evacuated from the stadium. When it was brought to light that it was a false alarm, play resumed under cloudy skies.

Brief Scores: South Africa 308/10; New Zealand 341/10 (Williamson 130, Watling 50, Maharaj 5/94); South Africa 38/1 (Amla 23, Boult 1/6)

Here are the talking points from Day 3 of the first Test between New Zealand and South Africa at Dunedin.


#5 South Africa enjoy early morning of Day 3

South Africa needed some quick wickets to get back in the game on Day 3 after Williamson's gritty knock yesterday. They had a night watchman in Jeetan Patel to target and that's just what they did.

Philander jagged one away from Patel, who slashed at it to generate an edge that flew to the right of du Plessis at second slip. The superman fielder is not one to miss chances and held on to the catch brilliantly.

Morkel then got his first wicket on his return to the attack as a solid Neesham wafted at a fullish delivery to be caught behind. Several replays finally confirmed that Morkel hadn't overstepped and South Africa had the upper hand in the morning.

#4 Williamson takes New Zealand close to South Africa's score

DUNEDIN, NEW ZEALAND - MARCH 09:  Kane Williamson of New Zealand bats during day two of the First Test match between New Zealand and South Africa at University Oval on March 9, 2017 in Dunedin, New Zealand.  (Photo by Dianne Manson/Getty Images)
Williamson and Watling put on 84 for the sixth wicket

Kane Williamson had already shown his grit and fight on Day 2 but knew that the task was only half done with Ross Taylor out injured. He had some company from BJ Watling and knocked up a fine 16th hundred after playing out a run less first hour. He is now only one century behind Martin Crowe as the leading century maker for the Kiwis.

Morkel, Rabada and Philander bowled probing channels but Williamson never let them settle into a rhythm as he took New Zealand pretty close to the first innings score Proteas had on board.

However, Rabada knocked him over with a sharp delivery that seamed away to catch Williamson's edge. He departed on 130 with New Zealand still 32 short of a lead.

#3 Wagner proves to be a thorn in the flesh of the Proteas

DUNEDIN, NEW ZEALAND - MARCH 10:  Neil Wagner of New Zealand hits a boundary during day three of the First Test match between New Zealand and South Africa at University Oval on March 10, 2017 in Dunedin, New Zealand.  (Photo by Dianne Manson/Getty Images)
Wagner frustrated the Proteas with a run a ball 32

Neil Wagner proved to be a headache for the visitors with his fiery, tireless bowling and hard hitting. The South African-born fast bowler had bowled his heart out in Proteas' first innings, notably an 11-over marathon spell.

Bowling, however, was only part of the Wagner-show in the Test as he came out with all guns blazing with the willow. With Watling back in the hut and only Trent Boult and a hobbling Ross Taylor remaining, Wagner went for his shots.

He cracked Philander for two fours and a six and then slog-swept Maharaj into the mid-wicket stands. The left arm spinner, however, had the last laugh by dismissing the tail-ender, but not before he had given the Kiwis a 33-run lead.

#2 Keshav Maharaj shows his class

DUNEDIN, NEW ZEALAND - MARCH 10:  Keshav Maharaj of South Africa reacts during day three of the First Test match between New Zealand and South Africa at University Oval on March 10, 2017 in Dunedin, New Zealand.  (Photo by Dianne Manson/Getty Images)
Maharaj sizzled with a five-wicket haul

The left-arm spinner has been enjoying a honeymoon period in Test cricketer since his debut in the Australian series. Maharaj has been tidy, and importantly, been amongst the wickets.

On a pitch that was deemed to turn, New Zealand played both of their spinners and South Africa had Maharaj. The cool-headed bowler responded with tight spells of bowling and a five-wicket haul. Williamson was the only batsman to dominate him as Maharaj completed his first fifer in Test cricket.

His victims included Jeet Raval, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling and Neil Wagner - all 4 of the wickets coming at crucial points in the game. Maharaj is quickly establishing himself as South Africa's primary spinner in Test cricket.

#1 Stephen Cook's second error in judgement

DUNEDIN, NEW ZEALAND - MARCH 10:  Trent Boult (L) and Jimmy Neesham of New Zealand celebrate the dismissal of Stephen Cook of South Africa during day three of the First Test match between New Zealand and South Africa at University Oval on March 10, 2017 in Dunedin, New Zealand.  (Photo by Dianne Manson/Getty Images)
Boult celebrates the wicket of Stephen Cook in the second innings

Stephen Cook has had a horrifying time since landing in New Zealand. The 34-year-old opening batsman left an inswinging delivery from Trent Boult in the first innings to be dismissed for 1.

If South Africa thought he would make amends for the error in judgement the second time around, they were wrong. Cook had another one up his sleeve as he was ruled out off the 4th ball of the second innings, once again by Boult.

The opener seemed pretty happy with the decision and walked off for a four-ball duck but the Real-time Snickometer (RTS) and Hotspot showed no signs of the ball touching the bat. If Cook had opted for the review he would have survived.

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Edited by Staff Editor
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