3rd Test, Day 2: NZ v SA commentary

Last updated: 24th March 2012  

Stumps And so it's confirmed. We'll start at 10am local time tomorrow if the outfield is dry. Today was dominated by South Africa, who played well considering that the ball moved around. New Zealand had a strong wind to contend with but will still be disappointed. Join us again tomorrow morning.

17:38 The umpires have been out in the middle conversing, but it's just started raining lightly again so on come the covers. That will surely be that.

Bad light stops play Exactly the same time as yesterday, and the umpires have their light meters out. Off come the players, and it's unlikely we'll see them again today.

Over 79 Gillespie 0-1-0-0-2nb-0-4 246-2 - This is turning into a long spell from Gillespie either side of tea, but he is bowling with the wind. Petersen has played hook shot well, but his eagerness to do so here results in something approaching a tennis shot as he fetches one from above head height outside off stump. Then at the end of the over he rides one past gully to pick up a boundary to move to 96.

Over 78 Williamson 1-0-0-0-0-0 239-2 - It's just starting to rain a bit now, so the tractor with the covers is poised waiting for the umpires to call it in. They're content for the moment, so we'll carry on.

Over 77 Gillespie 0-0-0-0-0-1 238-2 - Tighter stuff from Gillespie, which is what New Zealand have been needing. Just a single, as Petersen plays a lovely glance down to fine leg for a single. he's middled that shot all day.

Over 76 Williamson 0-0-0-1-4-0 237-2 - South Africa in a very strong position now, and if New Zealand don't make serious inroads with the second new ball then the tourists will fancy 450, and potentially an innings victory. That's still some way away though, as Duminy gets on the back foot to drive a short ball through extra cover for four.

Over 75 Gillespie 0-0-2-0-2-0 232-2 - Still no rain - the forecasters expected it to be chucking it down by now - but we were off for bad light at 5.25 yesterday. So we might not have more than half an hour here. Duminy pushes through backward point for two, then clips off his pads for a couple more.

Over 74 Williamson 0-0-1-0-0-2b 228-2 - Williamson continues as New Zealand look to the next new ball, and look to give Vettori a break, and Petersen is denied two runs when he glances away very fine on the leg side and the umpire signals byes. Pretty sure he got wood on that.

Over 73 Gillespie 0-0-1-2-0-0 225-2 - Gillespie was bowling a good spell before the break, so he continues here. Duminy whips one round the corner for a single, and Petersen pulls brilliantly through square-leg but is denied a boundary by a diving Vettori.

Tea No-one expected a full session, but we've had one and South Africa have dominated it. Petersen and Duminy have extended their partnership to 116 and have been pretty ruthless when New Zealand have been loose. The hosts have a second new ball coming in eight overs time, and will need to use it properly.

Over 72 Williamson 1-0-0-0-0-1 222-2 - There's a funny sequence of events: Duminy drives straight, the ball deflects off Petersen's bat and so the batsmen don't run. But the ball is heading for the boundary, chased by Bracewell, who nearly kicks it over the line. He ends up putting in a dramatic dive to prevent four as the batsmen stand, not running, in the middle.

Over 71 Gillespie 0-0-0-0-0-0 220-2 - Gillespie comes around the wicket to Duminy now, which makes things pretty interesting. Duminy leaves a couple that are pretty close to the stumps - one of them couldn't have missed off stump by more than an inch. I think we'll have one more over before tea.

Over 70 Vettori 0-0-0-0-4-0 220-2 - Petersen has been really good with anything short, and he pounces on another one to cut away for four. There were two men fairly close to each other in the point area, but he still managed to dissect them.

Over 69 Gillespie 0-2-0-1-0-0 216-2 - Petersen whips an inswinger through the leg side for a couple of runs, then glances another one to fine leg for one. Tea is coming up in about 10 minutes, when South Africa will be able to reflect on a job well done.

Over 68 Vettori 0-0-0-0-0-0 213-2 - Vettori leaves the off side open for Duminy and tries to bowl as straight as possible in a bid to bring out a forced stroke. Duminy doesn't go for it, and plays out a maiden.

Over 67 Gillespie 4-0-0-0-0-1 213-2 - Duminy is on fire! Gillespie offers width, and the left-hander pummels it through the covers in dismissive fashion. At this rate, he could beat Petersen to three figures.

Over 66 Vettori 0-0-0-4-0-0 208-2 - Vettori drops short to Petersen, who pulls him away for four to bring up the 100 partnership. This is a top effort from the two batsmen who were under the most pressure coming into the match.

Over 65 Gillespie 2-0-0-0-0-2 204-2 - Gillespie gets a chance to bowl with the wind for the first time today, and incredibly he manages to swing the ball against the wind. Given that he's getting the ball to swing, why was Williamson bowling here in the last over? Duminy works through square leg for a couple, and then gets an overthrow after he pushes the last ball into the covers and scrambles a single.

Over 64 Vettori 1-0-0-0-0-4 200-2 - Duminy drives wide of mid-off for a single, and then Vettori drops short and is cut away for four by Petersen. That takes Petersen to 74, and the South African total to 200.

Over 63 Williamson 0-0-1-0-1-1 195-2 - Here's Kane Williamson, and oddly he's bowling with the wind. Not sure if New Zealand want to get through some quick, cheap overs before the second new ball. Or perhaps it's because of the light, because it has become a bit dark. Just a trio of singles as South Africa continue to impress.

Over 62 Vettori 0-0-0-0-0-0 192-2 - A maiden from Vettori to Petersen. New Zealand have been a touch unlucky today, but could also be accused of not making their own luck.

Over 61 Bracewell 1-0-1-4-0-0 192-2 - DROPPED! But boy would that have been a blinder. Guptill dives full length to his right at second slip, but the ball hits his right wrist as he goes too far. Petersen survives, and one has to wonder why Taylor doesn't have a third slip - he would have gobbled Petersen twice today. Duminy goes to FIFTY as he takes on the short ball and top edges over the keeper for four.

Over 60 Vettori 1-0-0-0-0-0 186-2 - Vettori is still aborting the odd delivery because of the wind. Duminy works a single to leg to move to 48, and Petersen bats out the rest.

Over 59 Bracewell 0-0-0-0-1-0 185-2 - Just a Duminy single from Bracewell's over, but also a loud appeal for lbw. It looked to hit Duminy in line, but height was the issue and so Taylor decided not to review the not out decision from Kettleborough.

Over 58 Vettori 0-0-4-0-1-0 184-2 - Duminy is edging towards his half-century here, which would make things very interesting for the South African selectors going forward. It would certainly be an indication of their bench strength if their replacement batsman managed a ton. He leaps all over a short ball to earn four runs as his cut beats point.

Over 57 Bracewell 0-4-0-wd-0-1-0 179-2 - Top shot from Duminy, who plays another superb shot through the covers for four to move into the 40s. Bracewell's bouncer is so high that it's called wide, but Kruger van Wyk manages to take it one-handed.

Over 56 Vettori 0-0-0-0-0-0 173-2 - Vettori has a slip, a short leg and a shortish extra cover as he bowls to Petersen, but rather than getting drift, the wind is holding the ball up and making defence extremely easy. Petersen plays out a maiden, and that takes us through to drinks. If you'd told me earlier that we would have a whole hour of play, I wouldn't have believed you.

Over 55 Bracewell 0-1-0-0-0-2 173-2 - Bracewell gets a go from the 'good' end. He's still finding some swing, but the batsmen are covering it well. Duminy gets nice and low to pull a delivery that wasn't so short, and picks up two through backward square leg.

Over 54 Vettori 0-1-0-0-0-1 170-2 - Vettori replaces Gillespie, but even he struggles with the wind - it's the type that makes your eyes water if you open them. Both batsmen work singles as South Africa continue their march towards domination with the bat.

Over 53 Martin 0-4-0-0-0-0 168-2 - Martin could probably bowl all day seeing as he's running in with the wind. He's getting some late movement, but Petersen is seeing the ball well and he unleashes another gorgeous drive through the covers for four.

Over 52 Gillespie 0-0-4-0-0-0 164-2 - That's hugely disheartening at the best of times, but even more so when you're slogging away into the wind - Duminy gets an inside edge past the keeper for four.

Over 51 Martin 4-0-0-0-0-0 160-2 - Petersen is used to facing much quicker bowlers than Martin, so he's very happy to take on the bouncer here. A crisp pull shot brings four runs through square leg, and South Africa have done well so far in what is likely to be a mini-session.

Over 50 Gillespie 0-0-0-0-0-0 156-2 - Gillespie takes forever to get through an over, despite the fact that it's another over, because twice he's forced to abort most of the way through his run-up. On another occasion, Duminy pulls away because he's put off by the wind.

Over 49 Martin 0-0-0-0-1-1 156-2 - Petersen rides one down to fine leg for a single, and Martin begins his run-in for the next delivery but has to stop because the slips are being blown back by the wind. He goes again, and this time Duminy flicks off his legs for a single to bring up the FIFTY partnership.

Over 48 Gillespie 0-0-0-0-0-0 154-2 - Gillespie replaces Bracewell to do some of the donkey work, but the wind seems to put him off his game - even though he's from here and should be more used to the wind than others. Twice the ball disappears down the leg side, and Duminy is only asked to defend one good delivery. Still a maiden though.

Over 47 Martin 0-1-4-0-0-0 154-2 - Duminy brings out the drive again, but the ball isn't quite so full so he's forced to check his shot and only gets one through the covers. Petersen clips the next ball off his pads for four - he's timing the ball beautifully now, but he's also playing nice and straight and he gets behind three straight Martin deliveries.

Over 46 Bracewell 0-0-0-0-0-0 149-2 - Bracewell decides to shorten his run-up because the wind is so heavy. It's definitely building up now, the question is whether it's bringing heavy rain with it as has been predicted. Petersen sees out a maiden fairly confidently.

Over 45 Martin 0-0-4-0-1-4 149-2 - Petersen goes to FIFTY (122 balls, 5x4s, 1x6) with an edge past second slip for four. The ball is hooping around out there, so the batsmen will need a bit of luck to get through and Petersen enjoyed some there. Duminy ends the over with a cracking drive through extra cover for four. Superb shot.

Over 44 Bracewell 0-0-0-0-0-0 140-2 - Doug Bracewell starts from the other end, which means he's bowling into real gusting wind. We're expecting 120km/h winds later, so he's going to feel the effects of a building force. He has one delivery rap JP Duminy on the pad, but it was never threatening the stumps.

Over 43 Martin 0-0-0-4-0-0 140-2 - We have action! Immediately Martin swings one in and hits Petersen low on the front pad. Huge appeal, but umpire Kettleborough shakes his head. Virtual Eye says it was grazing leg, so it wouldn't have been overturned had Ross Taylor decided to review it. Petersen puts the short ball away, pulling fiercely for four.

All set Players on the field, umpires in position. Chris Martin will bowl to Alviro Petersen.

14:15 That bit of drizzle has passed, so the covers are being removed and the umpires say we will start in 10 minutes. But I wouldn't be surprised if it drizzles again between now and then.

13:58 And here it is. The rain arrives, the covers come on. How about that.

13:55 Oh dear. With five minutes until play is due to begin, out comes the tractor with the covers. It's not quite raining yet, but the wind changed about 20 minutes ago and the general consensus is that there's a chunk of bad weather about to arrive.

Ouch Meanwhile, the news drifts in that Hashim Amla underwent emergency surgery last night after he was hit in the groin area by a Chris Martin delivery that deflected off the inside edge. "Hashim underwent emergency exploratory surgery resulting from blunt trauma sustained to his groin region," Proteas Team Manager, Dr Mohammed Moosajee said. "He spent the night in hospital and was discharged this morning. The surgeon is satisfied with the outcome and expects Hashim to make a full recovery, however, it is unlikely that he will be able to take further part in the current Test match at the Basin Reserve."

13:15 The players have arrived at the ground, and the South Africans are starting to warm up.

13:00 Even better news - play will begin at 2pm. We are still expecting some major rain to hit this afternoon, but if we can get an hour's play in, at least it would be something.

12.20pm Some good news. The groundsmen have been working on the outfield since my last message, and they're now just starting to remove the covers. We're still at least an hour away from any play, but things are looking a bit more optimistic.

11.15am The soonest that the umpires will make a call on any play is 12.30, but we would need at least two hours from then to mop up apparently. There is a break in the rain around 2pm according to the radar before the afternoon squall arrives, but the best we can hope for is an hour or so of play.

11am It stopped raining about 20 minutes ago, so the ground staff have been pushing water off the covers. Now they've stopped. Not sure why, but perhaps they realised it was an exercise in futility. The umpires have confirmed that there will be no play before lunch.

Forecast Morning: drizzly rain. Afternoon: Rain and northerly gales. Light: Poor. Seriously, there's nothing to see here folks.

Morning Bad news I'm afraid - it's raining here at the Basin Reserve. The wind is sweeping horizontally across the ground, and the outlook is very bleak indeed. Given how poor the drainage is on this ground, and how bad the forecast is for the rest of the day, I seriously doubt we'll see any play today. We're meant to be starting at 10am, which is in about eight minutes' time, but the teams haven't even arrived at the ground yet - they're still cooped up at the hotel.

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