Williamson leads fightback by injury-hit New Zealand

Dunedin, Mar 9:
A battling Kane Williamson ensured New Zealand took the second-day honours despite a crippling calf injury to senior batsman Ross Taylor in the first cricket Test against South Africa, here today.
Williamson was not out on 78 as he propped up the innings with nightwatchman Jeetan Patel on nine, taking New Zealand to 177 for three in reply to South Africa’s 308.
Taylor was on eight when he limped from the field during a torrid period in which he was also hit on the helmet by a fired-up Morne Morkel, who sent down a lively 10 overs for 26 in his comeback from a serious back injury.
New Zealand wrapped up the South African innings five overs after lunch, with the last six wickets falling for only 56 runs.
It was a rapid end to an innings where the wicket offered little for the bowlers and Dean Elgar, with his 140, had the tourists well placed at 252 for four.
By tea, New Zealand were 59 for one and they added a further 118 for two wickets, plus the loss of the injured Taylor, in the final session.
South Africa removed Tom Latham early, caught behind off Vern Philander for 10, and New Zealand were 15 for one.
But Williamson and Jeet Raval sparked the innings with a 102-run stand, a record second-wicket partnership for New Zealand against South Africa, before Raval went for 52.
The opener had offered early chances with close-run singles before he settled down and looked set by the time he brought up his half-century driving Keshav Maharaj for the sixth four of his innings.
But he lasted only another seven balls and was unable to score again before he scooped the spinner to Elgar at midwicket.
Williamson has survived four chances in his innings. Maharaj found an edge when he was on 10 and again on 40, but both fell fractionally short of Hashim Amla at first slip.
On 72, he was sent back by Henry Nicholls and he made his ground by the slimmest of margins, before an edge off Philander four runs later failed to carry to the slip cordon.
The Maharaj-Amla partnership made no mistake when removing Nicholls for 12, with Amla diving to his left to take a sharp one-handed catch.
South Africa resumed day two on 229 for four and added a cautious 23 in 12 overs before Neil Wagner claimed the crucial wicket of Elgar to end his 104-run partnership with Temba Bavuma.
It was the beginning of the end for South Africa as Quinton de Kock fell for 10 to his nemesis Patel, dismissed by the off-spinner for the third time in as many innings on this tour. (Agencies)


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