A day New Zealand would like to forget

The opening day of the second Castle Lager Test between South Africa and New Zealand at SuperSport Park on Friday is one the Black Caps would probably prefer to forget.

After a good start, the visitors collapsed to 187 for eight after tea, and received the news that injured opener Craig Cumming will be unable to resume batting in the first innings.

New Zealand won the toss and chose to bat first on a pitch that Proteas coach Mickey Arthur described as being “good for five days of Test cricket”. They started off well, getting to lunch for the loss of just one wicket—that of Michael Papps, who was caught in the slips by Herschelle Gibbs off Makhaya Ntini for nine in the eighth over of the day.

Cumming and Lou Vincent were looking good, and at lunch had put on 58 runs together for the second wicket.

However, New Zealand’s woes began immediately after lunch, and, as in the first Test, it was Dale Steyn who rocked them to the core.

He struck his first blow in the second over after lunch when Vincent mistimed a ball and was caught at mid-on by Paul Harris for 33, including four fours and a six.

Steyn’s most telling blow came four overs later, when a short ball hit Cumming on the helmet. The visor smashed into his face and he fell to his knees, with blood pouring from the wound. Cumming, who was within two runs of his second Test 50, was taken to hospital for stitches and a scan.

He received two stitches in the wound, and then was taken to Johannesburg to consult a maxio-facillary surgeon to determine whether he needed any further treatment. A team spokesperson said he would not bat again in the first innings, and it is not clear whether he will be able to take any further part in the match.

Scott Styris, who took his place, was greeted with a hostile delivery from Steyn, and he lasted just eight balls before being given out lbw to Steyn for three.

Former skipper Stephen Fleming and newcomer Ross Taylor put on 42 off 44 for the fourth wicket before Taylor was brilliantly caught in the gully by Ashwell Prince off Andre Nel for 17.

Fleming, who did not allow the aggressive South African bowling to deter him, appeared to be on his way to his 42nd Test 50 when he hit a Jacques Kallis delivery straight to Prince at backward point. He made 43, including six boundaries and a six off Steyn.

Brendon McCullum and captain Daniel Vettori tried to restore some calm to the New Zealand innings, but Andre Nel took his second wicket off the last over before tea when McCullum was caught in the slips by AB de Villiers for 13.

It was Steyn who struck the blows after tea, taking two wickets off two balls in the third over after the break to dismiss Mark Gillespie, playing in his debut Test, and Iain O’Brien back to the dressing room without scoring. Gillespie was given out lbw and O’Brien was caught in the slips by Gibbs.

With storm clouds gathering over Centurion, the umpires offered the batsmen the light, which they accepted with alacrity. Vettori was not out on 16 and Chris Martin had yet to score.

Steyn, who took 10 wickets in the first Test, was the pick of the bowlers, with four for 42. Nel took two for 42 and Kallis and Ntini took a wicket each.—Sapa

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