South Africa roared to victory with 198 runs in the second Test against New Zealand in Christchurch on Tuesday, taking sweet revenge for their hammering in the first Test, as they maintained their astonishing record by never having a run of the Black Caps to have lost.
New Zealand started the final day at 94/4, with an almost impossible goal of 426, which would have required a world record chase. A more reasonable goal for them was to exploit the 90 overs for a draw and a history-making 1-0 series win.
And nighttime batsmen Devon Conway and Tom Blundell frustrated the Proteas for the first 96 minutes as they took their tenacious partnership to 85. But paceman Lutho Sipamla, in the midst of a tight period, then fired in a superb yorker that held Conway lbw captive for 92 .
The South African-born southpaw showed great determination in hitting four-and-a-half hours, facing 188 balls while narrowly missing his fourth century in his seventh Test.
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The Proteas then mounted the pressure with relentless aggression, with fiery left arm Marco Jansen removing Blundell for 44, Colin de Grandhomme for 18 while Wiaan Mulder took a scorching catch on a short fine leg and Kyle Jamieson for 12.
Left arm spinner Keshav Maharaj added nothing to the two wickets he took on the fourth day, but with his group of close-in fielders in fine semantic form, he kept up the pressure from the other side.
With some drizzle, meaning there was some urgency to finish the innings, Kagiso Rabada returned to sack Tim Southee (17), with Sipamla handling a skyer extremely well, as Rabada himself had done by catching Jamieson.
But Neil Wagner (10*) and Matt Henry (0) survived 52 balls against a lot of short pitch bowling, before the drizzle became heavy enough to force the players off the field at 3:18pm, with an early tea being drunk.
Maharaj made sure the fear didn’t last much longer as with the ninth ball after the break he shoved an armball into Henry’s front pad and locked him in lbw to finish 3/75 in 31.5 overs.
Rabada added 3/46 in 19 overs to his five-wicket haul in the first innings, while Jansen claimed 3/63 in 23 overs.
After all the harsh words thrown at the Proteas after the dismal first Test, they have once again proved their remarkable resilience. There is clearly something very good going on in their dressing room.