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The Electronic Telegraph South Africa v New Zealand (2nd Test)
Reports from The Electronic Telegraph - 11-15 March 1999

Day 1: Kiwis back to the bad old ways

Neil Manthorp in Christchurch

For the first time this season New Zealand performed like their team of the 1990s - weakly. Dion Nash's decision to bat first was made to look as silly as his decision to bowl first in Auckland 10 days ago. Feeble, ill-disciplined batting let him down.

However, Allan Donald and Shaun Pollock still represent the best new-ball attack in the game on current form. Grey skies in the morning and a pitch with grass on it appeared to excite Donald and Pollock to such an extent that they temporarily lost control.

But Bryan Young contrived to miss a rare straight one from Donald, Roger Twose edged a wide one from Pollock to slip and Matthew Horne ended his promising innings of 36 with yet another wide slash at Jacques Kallis.

Nathan Astle threw his wicket away on 44 when he cut a Donald bouncer over slips to third man before Pollock wrapped it up to finish with four for 34.

Gary Kirsten and Herschelle Gibbs steered the tourists to 54-0 by the close.

Day 2: Gibbs eases to century

Neil Manthorp in Christchurch

Herschelle Gibbs scored the most significant and cherished post-isolation century by a South African here yesterday. His unbeaten 101 led the tourists to 229 for one, a first-innings lead of 61 on a slow, weather-affected second day but the ``who'' was more important than the ``what''.

In purely cricketing terms, it was a monumental effort of self-denial for a player so supremely gifted with attacking, attractive shots, but the majority of his countrymen simply celebrated his colour.

Gibbs, a Cape Coloured, has never been suspected of preferential treatment but, since the latest controversy concerning racial composition of national teams, his presence in the side has come under scrutiny.

Since being promoted to opener at the end of last year, he has reached 20 once, 30 twice, 40 twice and 50 once in nine innings before natural ebullience and concentration lapses cost him. This time, he batted with an intensity of thought that would have made a veteran opener of 100 Tests proud.

Day 3: Injury leaves Donald on the sidelines

Matt Munford in Christchurch

Herschelle Gibbs and Jacques Kallis, unbeaten by New Zealand's bowlers, were defeated by the country's weather when just 40 balls were possible on the third day of the second Test at Lancaster Park, Christchurch yesterday.

South Africa's young batting stars advanced their second wicket partnership from its overnight 102 to 120 before the drizzle that prevented play starting until 3.15 pm returned and drove the players off after just 29 minutes.

Gibbs, who resumed on 101 not out from 286 balls in six hours and 52 minutes, tried to raise the tempo in the short time available, adding two boundaries to reach 113.

Kallis, who resumed on 53, square drove Vettori through point and added a single to move his score onto 58.

Having bowled their hosts out for 168 on the first day, South Africa's lead stands at 79 runs with nine wickets in hand.

An extra hour will be added to the fourth and fifth days in an attempt to make up lost time, although a total of seven hours and 35 minutes - or 116 overs - has been lost already.

``There are still around 210 overs left in the match and we believe there's enough time left in the match to produce a result,'' South African captain Hansie Cronje said.

South African coach Bob Woolmer confirmed that Allan Donald, who left the field on the first day, would almost certainly not bowl again in the match.

``Allan has a torn stomach muscle and that usually takes 12 to 14 days to heal. He will almost certainly miss the third Test in Wellington but we hope he'll be fit for the one-day internationals,'' Woolmer said. They will not send for a replacement as Steven Elworthy is in the tour party.

Day 4: Gibbs leads run blizzard

By Neil Manthorp in Christchurch

SOUTH AFRICA took their batting aggregate in two innings against New Zealand to 1,063 for the loss of six wickets over two matches on the fourth day of the second Test in Christchurch yesterday.

Resuming eventually, after yet more rain, on 247 for one, the tourists climbed to 442 without further loss following their 621 for five in Auckland. They led by 274 at the start of the final day.

Herschelle Gibbs and Jacques Kallis added an unbroken 315 for the second wicket as New Zealand's feeble attack popped away under leaden, misty skies, hoping for a declaration to spare them. It never came, specifically because the weather would have spared their batsmen.

Just 10 overs were bowled during a showery morning at Jade Park, and the afternoon did not get much better. Gibbs, resuming on 113, immediately raised the tempo with two off-side sixes against Chris Harris, and Kallis, too, accelerated in the hope of better light and therefore a declaration. As the elements darkened, so did New Zealand's gloom.

Both batsmen reverted to the sticky pace of the second day and both completed personal best scores, among other milestones. Their stand was the third highest for South Africa, four runs behind the 319 scored against England at Trent Bridge in 1947 by Dudley Nourse and Alan Melville and 26 behind Graeme Pollock and Eddie Barlow's 341 against Australia in Adelaide in 1963-64.

Gibbs provided further delight for his country's non-white supporters by becoming the ninth South African double centurion and he finished the day in a tie for the country's longest Test innings - 10 hours and 59 minutes, exactly matching the time taken for Daryll Cullinan's marathon 275 not out in the first Test.

His unbeaten 211 spanned 468 deliveries and contained 23 fours and three sixes; Kallis, who completed his fourth Test century, finished with 148 from 340 balls.

Day 5: Run glut little use for South Africa

By Neil Manthorp in Christchurch

IN the same manner that tired boxers might hug their opponents into submission, New Zealand's weather finally sapped the will of the South Africans on the final day of the second Test at Lancaster Park yesterday. New Zealand finished another curtailed day untroubled on 127 for one.

South Africa declared on their overnight 442 for one, hoping that a lead of 274 and a scheduled final day of 105 overs would be sufficient to force a win.

Instead there was no play before lunch, and then New Zealand proceeded to their first century opening stand for 43 Test innings, and after the game ended, named named an unchanged 12 for the third Test, which begins at the Basin Reserve in Wellington on Thursday.

Source: The Electronic Telegraph
Editorial comments can be sent to The Electronic Telegraph at et@telegraph.co.uk