South Africa need six wickets on the final day for victory after Kyle Verreynne's maiden Test century left New Zealand needing to pull off a record run chase in the second Test.

New Zealand will resume on day five at 94-4, trailing by 332 runs after the Proteas declared at 354-9, setting the Black Caps an improbable target of 426 to win.

If the Proteas manage to clinch victory, it will deny New Zealand their first-ever Test series victory over South Africa after dominating the first Test at the same venue, Hagley Oval, last week.

New Zealand faced 42 overs after Dean Elgar's declaration late in the middle session, with Kagiso Rabada adding two more wickets to his first-innings five-wicket haul, while Keshav Maharaj also claimed two dismissals.

Verreynne was crucial to South Africa establishing complete dominance having resumed on day four at 5-140, with an overall lead of 211 runs.

The South African wicketkeeper-batsman was the perennial figure as the Proteas added 214 runs to their overnight score, with handy contributions from Wiann Mulder (35) and Kagiso Rabada (47), whose knock came from 34 balls and was a career high with the bat.

Verreynne and Rabada combined for a 78-run eighth-wicket stand which took the life out of New Zealand, who had hoped for a final-innings target no greater than 300.

Shortly after Rabada was dismissed, Verreynne brought up his maiden Test century swiping a length ball wide of fine leg.

Verreynne finished unbeaten on 136, with Tim Southee, Matt Henry, Kyle Jamieson and Neil Wagner all claiming two wickets each.

Tasked with a record run chase, New Zealand's pursuit started disastrously with Rabada dismissing Will Young and Tom Latham in the first and third overs. New Zealand were soon 25-3 when Maharaj - who sent down 16 overs in a row - bowled Henry Nicholls.

Devon Conway (60*) and Daryl Mitchell steadied the innings but Maharaj dismissed the latter for 24 late in the day.

Record run chase required

South Africa's declaration left New Zealand needing an unlikely 426 to win, which exceeds the current fourth-innings world record chase of 418 by West Indies against Australia in St John's in 2003. With the Black Caps four down, that is unlikely to be threatened.

Verreynne firming as worthy de Kock's successor

Verreynne's opportunity in the Proteas line-up has come following Quinton de Kock's premature retirement and he is beginning to prove he is the future for South Africa after only six Tests.

South Africa needs six wickets on the final day for victory after Kyle Verreynne's maiden Test century left New Zealand needing to pull off a record run chase in the second Test.

New Zealand will resume on day five at 94-4, trailing by 332 runs after the Proteas declared at 354-9, setting the Black Caps an improbable target of 426 to win.

If the Proteas manage to clinch victory, it will deny New Zealand their first-ever Test series victory over South Africa after dominating the first Test at the same venue, Hagley Oval, last week.

New Zealand faced 42 overs after Dean Elgar's declaration late in the middle session, with Kagiso Rabada adding two more wickets to his first-innings five-wicket haul, while Keshav Maharaj also claimed two dismissals.

Verreynne was crucial to South Africa establishing complete dominance having resumed on day four at 5-140, with an overall lead of 211 runs.

The South African wicketkeeper-batsman was the perennial figure as the Proteas added 214 runs to their overnight score, with handy contributions from Wiann Mulder (35) and Kagiso Rabada (47), whose knock came from 34 balls and was a career high with the bat.

Verreynne and Rabada combined for a 78-run eighth-wicket stand which took the life out of New Zealand, who had hoped for a final-innings target no greater than 300.

Shortly after Rabada was dismissed, Verreynne brought up his maiden Test century swiping a length ball wide of fine leg.

Verreynne finished unbeaten on 136*, with Tim Southee, Matt Henry, Kyle Jamieson and Neil Wagner all claiming two wickets each.

Tasked with a record run chase, New Zealand's pursuit started disastrously with Rabada dismissing Will Young and Tom Latham in the first and third overs. New Zealand were soon 25-3 when Maharaj  - who sent down 16 overs in a row - bowled Henry Nicholls.

Devon Conway (60*) and Daryl Mitchell steadied the innings but Maharaj dismissed the latter for 24 late in the day.

Record run chase required

South Africa's declaration left New Zealand needing an unlikely 426 to win, which exceeds the current fourth-innings world record chase of 418 by the West Indies against Australia in St John's in 2003. With the Black Caps four down, that is unlikely to be threatened.

Verreynne firming as worthy de Kock's successor

Verreynne's opportunity in the Proteas line-up has come following Quinton de Kock's premature retirement and he is beginning to prove he is the future for South Africa after only six Tests.

New Zealand rallied led by Colin de Grandhomme's century but South Africa remain well placed with a 211-run lead after three days of the second Test at Christchurch's Hagley Oval.

The Proteas reached stumps at 140-5 with Kyle Verreyne (22*) and Wiaan Mulder (10*) at the crease after securing a 71-run first-innings advantage having bowled out the hosts for 293 led by Kagiso Rabada's five-wicket haul

New Zealand had resumed trailing by more than 200 runs with five wickets in hand, but de Grandhomme's 133-run sixth-wicket stand with Daryl Mitchell narrowed the deficit.

De Grandhomme remained unbeaten 120*, notching up his second Test century prior to lunch, after Mitchell was trapped lbw by Keshav Maharaj for 60.

Rabada (5-60) and Marco Jansen (4-98), who had employed a short-ball plan, finished off the Black Caps' resistance in the second session despite Neil Wagner's aggressive 21 from 18 balls that included three fours and a six.

New Zealand offered hope with three early breakthroughs, reducing South Africa to 38-3 with Tim Southee (2-28) dismissing both openers.

Southee trapped first-innings centurion Sarel Erwee lbw for 8 in the third over with an inswinger which the opener reviewed without success.

Tom Blundell pulled off a brilliant one-handed catch in the 11th over as Southee drew an edge from Dean Elgar bowling around the wicket.

Rassie van der Dussen steadied South Africa's innings with 45 before being caught and bowled by workhorse Wagner (2-44) who also took Temba Bavuma's wicket in the final session during a tireless spell.

Verreyne and Mulder took the Proteas' lead past 200, although New Zealand will remain hopeful of claiming the final five wickets promptly on day four and chasing a target below 300.

Black Caps remain hopeful

New Zealand are incredibly chasing their first-ever Test series victory over South Africa and would have been confident of achieving that after a dominant first Test triumph.

The Proteas are in control but de Grandhomme suggested there was hope within the camp. He said: "I think it's in the balance, they're a bit ahead, but if we can get a few quick wickets tomorrow, we can be back in it."

Rabada claims 11th Test five-fa

Rabada wrapped up the New Zealand batting innings with wickets from successive deliveries, utilizing the short ball for both dismissals.

The pair of wickets earned 26-year-old Rabada his 11th Test five-wicket haul but he is likely to have more work to do, ahead of the Black Caps' final-innings chase.

South Africa took control of the second Test in Christchurch on day two as Kagiso Rabada and Marco Jansen ripped through the New Zealand top order.

An unbeaten partnership of 66 between Colin de Grandhomme (54 not out) and Daryl Mitchell (29 not out) rescued the Black Caps from 91-5 after the tourists had reached 364 all out in their first innings.

The Proteas resumed on 238-3, but lost four wickets in the first session as Matt Henry and Neil Wagner picked up two each, before Wagner also dismissed Rabada (6) shortly after play resumed.

There was a brief rain delay during the second session that seemed to take the bowlers out of their rhythm as Jansen (37 not out) and Keshav Maharaj (36) added a handy partnership of 62 runs in 13 overs.

New Zealand's reply got off to the worst possible start as Rabada (3-37) struck twice to get rid of Tom Latham for a duck and Will Young for just three. Devon Conway (16) and Henry Nicholls (39) put up some resistance but both ultimately fell to poor shots against Jansen (2-48).

After Tom Blundell came and went, scoring six runs in his six balls, Mitchell and De Grandhomme set about trying to rescue things for their team.

Mitchell ticked over calmly while De Grandhomme hit a 36-ball 50, including two sixes, though was held up after that, mostly by Maharaj's dangerous spin as he scored just four more runs from his next 25 deliveries.

Dean Elgar burned his team's last review with the penultimate delivery of the day as Lutho Sipamla thought he had Mitchell lbw, but replays showed an inside edge as the hosts closed day two still 207 runs behind with five wickets remaining.

Jansen continues impressive start to Test career

This is just the fifth Test Jansen has played in but he is already stepping up in key moments, hitting an impressive 37 not out to add what could be crucial runs at the end of South Africa's first innings, before also doing damage with the ball.

The 21-year-old took an impressive 19 wickets in three Tests against India, and although he and his team-mates all struggled in the first Test in New Zealand, he in particular has come back with a bang at the Hagley Oval.

De Grandhomme rolls back the years

It was a difficult moment to arrive at the crease with his team still 273 runs behind and five wickets down, but the 35-year-old utilised his trademark aggression and attacked South Africa's bowlers, hitting the only two sixes of the Test so far.

This was De Grandhomme's ninth 50 of his Test career, but he has only gone on to score a century once (v West Indies in 2017). New Zealand could really do with him doubling that amount on day three.

South Africa bounced back from their insipid first Test performance with an impressive opening day to be 238-3 at stumps against New Zealand at Christchurch's Hagley Oval.

Opener Sarel Erwee scored his maiden Test century in his second appearance, combining with skipper Dean Elgar for a 111-run first-wicket stand which set the tone for the day in the second Test.

The Black Caps had dominated the first Test in Christchurch, winning by an innings and 276 runs but the Proteas showed vastly more fight and application.

New Zealand were left frustrated with as many as five edges falling short in the slips with the pitch not as quick as the first Test, nor offering as much seam movement.

Elgar surprised many when he opted to bat after winning the toss but it proved a good call, making 41 alongside Erwee, before being bowled by a Tim Southee inswinger after getting through the first session unscathed.

Erwee brought up his maiden hundred with a boundary in the final over before tea, leaping into the air to celebrate.

Aidan Markram, who needed runs after a lean spell, was determined but lost focus and fell short of a half-century when Neil Wagner lured him into a drive which was caught by Daryl Mitchell at first slip for 42.

Erwee followed him back to the changerooms two balls later for 108, caught behind by Tom Blundell off Matt Henry from a loose drive.

Temba Bavuma survived two close calls in the same Henry over, with edges eluding the slips and racing away for boundaries.

After his nervy start, Bavuma eased the tension before getting through to stumps on 22* alongside Rassie van der Dussen (13*).

Patient Erwee navigates Black Caps 

Erwee brought up his half-century in the final over before lunch and then triple figures with four balls to go prior to tea. The 32-year-old left-hander patiently reached his century from 188 deliveries, with Wagner and Colin de Grandhomme combining for five consecutive maidens shortly prior to him achieving the elusive milestone. Erwee's stand with Elgar with South Africa's best opening partnership since December 2020.

Bold Elgar call pays off

Elgar's bold decision to bat raised some eyebrows, becoming the first captain to win the toss and not bowl at Hagley Oval. He also became the fourth skipper in the past 45 Tests played in New Zealand to win the toss and bat, remarkably coming after the Proteas were embarrassingly skittled for 95 and 111 in the first Test.

South Africa bounced back from their insipid first Test performance with an impressive opening day to be 238-3 at stumps against New Zealand at Christchurch's Hagley Oval.

Opener Sarel Erwee scored his maiden Test century in his second appearance, combining with skipper Dean Elgar for a 111-run first-wicket stand which set the tone for the day in the second Test.

The Black Caps had dominated the first Test in Christchurch, winning by an innings and 276 runs but the Proteas showed vastly more fight and application.

New Zealand were left frustrated with as many as five edges falling short in the slips with the pitch not as quick as the first Test, nor offering as much seam movement.

Elgar surprised many when he opted to bat after winning the toss but it proved a good call, making 41 alongside Erwee, before being bowled by a Tim Southee inswinger after getting through the first session unscathed.

Erwee brought up his maiden hundred with a boundary in the final over before tea, leaping into the air to celebrate.

Aidan Markram, who needed runs after a lean spell, was determined but lost focus and fell short of a half-century when Neil Wagner lured him into a drive which was caught by Daryl Mitchell at first slip for 42.

Erwee followed him back to the changerooms two balls later for 108, caught behind by Tom Blundell off Matt Henry from a loose drive.

Temba Bavuma survived two close calls in the same Henry over, with edges eluding the slips and racing away for boundaries.

After his nervy start, Bavuma eased the tension before getting through to stumps on 22* alongside Rassie van der Dussen (13*).

Patient Erwee navigates Black Caps 

Erwee brought up his half-century in the final over before lunch and then triple figures with four balls to go prior to tea. The 32-year-old left-hander patiently reached his century from 188 deliveries, with Wagner and Colin de Grandhomme combining for five consecutive maidens shortly prior to him achieving the elusive milestone. Erwee's stand with Elgar with South Africa's best opening partnership since December 2020.

Bold Elgar call pays off

Elgar's bold decision to bat raised some eyebrows, becoming the first captain to win the toss and not bowl at Hagley Oval. He also became the fourth skipper in the past 45 Tests played in New Zealand to win the toss and bat, remarkably coming after the Proteas were embarrassingly skittled for 95 and 111 in the first Test.

Tom Latham insists the priority will be World Test Championship points when New Zealand face South Africa in the second and final Test of their series at the Hagley Oval on Thursday.

After thrashing the tourists in the first Test by an innings and 276 runs in just seven sessions, New Zealand will clinch their first ever Test series win against the Proteas should they avoid defeat in Christchurch.

However, Latham is keen for his team to keep their eyes on the prize they won last year, and not simply play for a draw to ensure a historic series win.

The Black Caps' stand-in captain, speaking at a media conference ahead of the second Test, said: "On the whole for us it's about the WTC and you get as many points as possible.

"Points at home are really vital. Nowadays in international cricket it's so hard to win away from home, so points in your own country are really important."

When asked about the possibility of playing for a draw, he added: "Yeah, if you look back a few years ago, where you know this wasn't the case, we had series which, if you won 1-0 then that was cool.

"But I guess nowadays the context that the WTC has had has been great for Test cricket and it just shows that you need to win every game, and that will be our challenge."

New Zealand are in sixth place in the WTC points table, with 46.66 percentage points after five matches. Following this series, their Test side travels to England and Pakistan.

South Africa will be looking for drastic improvement on their feeble showing in the first Test, where they scored just 95 and 111 in their two innings and allowed the hosts to amass 482 runs in reply.

Remarkably, it was New Zealand's first Test match victory against the Proteas since 2004, and they have lost 13 out of the last 16 series between the two, including the most recent six.

No Williamson? No Boult? No problem

Kane Williamson remains sidelined by injury, though New Zealand's batting hardly seemed to suffer without their regular captain, and coach Gary Stead confirmed Trent Boult will also miss out again.

The pace bowler missed the first Test as he was awaiting the birth of his third child, and Stead feels he has not had enough time in the nets since returning to be considered here.

"[He] is not in a position to be available with his loads and where he's at," Stead said.

"Since his wife has been having the baby, he's missed out on a lot of opportunities to play cricket and bowl. We just felt the risk of him playing was far too great at the moment."

Ngidi ruled out again

Although an inability to put runs on the board was a major factor in the first Test defeat – the second-biggest in South Africa's history – it was also frustrating for them to see New Zealand do so with relative ease.

South Africa certainly missed the bowling of Lungi Ngidi, and unfortunately will be without the 25-year-old again.

"Because he hasn't been able to bowl last week, I don't think his bowling loads are up to the standard of preparing for Test matches," Proteas captain Dean Elgar said to reporters regarding Ngidi, who missed the first Test with a back issue.

"He hasn't been training with us, he's only been bowling off a short run-up, which has been a bit of a setback for us. We know Lungi's been a key figure in our bowling line-up. So it's a bit disappointing that he's in the situation that he's in now."

England captain Joe Root believes there is still a way back for Stuart Broad and James Anderson, and admitted that he is grateful to have maintained his own position after a dire Ashes series.

Anderson and Broad have been outspoken about their omissions from the squad for the upcoming tour of the West Indies, with the latter also criticising the fact that he was only informed of the decision via a brief phone call with Interim managing director of cricket Andrew Strauss.

Strauss selected the 16-man squad along with interim coach Paul Collingwood and head scout James Taylor, after a 4-0 Ashes defeat led to the departure of England head coach Chris Silverwood.

Despite seeing his experienced team-mates dropped, Root claimed there could be a way back into the fold for the duo.

"I've spoken both to Stuart and Jimmy and they're obviously disappointed and angry. Stuart in particular has voiced that quite publicly," Root said, as reported via The Telegraph.

"You'd expect that. I've got a huge amount of respect for both of them. It's been made very clear, no one is saying this is the end for them. 

"If we're in a position where [Broad and Anderson] can come back into this team, then great, that's only going to strengthen things. No-one's been told that it's the end of the road."

Anderson and Broad have taken a combined 1,177 Test wickets, ranking as the country's two most prolific bowlers of all time in the longest format.

With a number of regulars, such as Jos Buttler and Rory Burns, missing the Windies tour, Root acknowledged he was thankful to keep his place, though he has never lost faith in his own ability.

Indeed, despite England's poor display as a team Down Under, Root enjoyed a stellar 2021, scoring 1,708 runs across 29 Test innings.

 

"It's never nice when you see people that you've worked closely with for a long period of time lose their jobs," Root continued.

"Clearly it was a disappointing tour [in Australia] and we massively underperformed. As Straussy mentioned, [we need] a bit of a reset, and a real chance to take things forward. I'm very grateful that I've got the opportunity to do that as captain.

"It's a real opportunity that we've got to take with both hands. It's obviously a very new-looking squad, and it's a real chance for the guys to step up and really take the chances that are presented to them – me included.

"I didn't waver. I'm very passionate about trying to take this team forward. I'm grateful I've got that opportunity, I really am."

Root posted a batting average of just 32.2 throughout England's third consecutive series defeat in Australia, well down on his career Test average of 49.23, but will now attempt bounce back by leading England to just their second series win in the Caribbean since 1968.

Shane Warne said England should be "jumping" at the chance to appoint former Australia coach Justin Langer.

Langer guided Australia to T20 World Cup success last November before overseeing a 4-0 Ashes thrashing of England across December and January.

That demolition led to the dismissal of England coach Chris Silverwood, though Langer also chose to resign from his role after rejecting a short-term contract extension.

Cricket Australia's (CA) handling of the situation has been widely scrutinised, with Warne one of the most vocal critics, but the legendary former leg-spinner believes England could profit from Langer's exit.

"If I were England, I'd be jumping at him," Warne said on the Sky Sports Cricket Podcast.

"Winning an Ashes and a World Cup, it doesn't get much bigger than that for Australia, but for me [Langer] was a dead man walking when I didn't hear the captain or any other players sticking up for him, saying he was fantastic. I found that really disappointing.

"Why couldn't Cricket Australia come out and say they were not renewing his contract straight away but would wait until the end of the summer, see who the best candidate is and if Langer is still the best candidate give him a contract?

"I thought it was pretty poorly handled and that Cricket Australia were disgraceful in the way they handled it."

Paul Collingwood takes charge in the interim, with England heading to the Caribbean for a three-Test series against West Indies, which starts on March 8.

However, Joe Root's tourists will do so without Stuart Broad and James Anderson – who have taken a combined 1,177 wickets – after the pair were surprise omissions.

Mark Wood, Ollie Robinson, Craig Overton, Saqib Mahmood and the uncapped Matt Fisher are the specialist seam bowlers included instead.

But Warne understands why Anderson was not selected, though he questioned leaving Broad out.

"I wasn't surprised Anderson got left out," he said. "He is England's best ever bowler and when the conditions suit he is still a handful but when it was flat [in Australia] I think he struggled.

"He bowled a nice line and length, was economical and could dry up and end and could do a role with firepower at the other end. But I think he needs conditions.

"You want him to play in England and if he plays in the West Indies after the Ashes series it is going to be hard in England so I don't mind him having a break – but I would have played Broad.

"I think at times he bowled really well in Australia. People lump Broad and Anderson in together but Broad is four years younger than Anderson, so I am surprised Broad didn't go to the West Indies."

Rohit Sharma was appointed as India's permanent Test captain, as Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane were dropped for the series against Sri Lanka. 

Virat Kohli stepped down as skipper following the 2-1 series defeat to South Africa in January, which saw India slip from first to third in the ICC Test rankings. 

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced on Saturday that recently appointed white-ball captain Rohit would also take on the Test duties, starting with the two matches against Sri Lanka in March. 

There was no place in the squad for Pujara or Rahane, however. Ishant Sharma and Wriddhiman Saha were also overlooked. 

The quartet will instead contest the Ranji Trophy – India's domestic first-class cricket championship – in a bid to rediscover their form. 

Ravindra Jadeja was included after recovering from injury and Ravichandran Ashwin was named as part of five-spinner attack despite being a fitness concern. 

The Test series will follow a three-match Twenty20 series against Sri Lanka that starts on Thursday. 

Sanju Samson joined Jadeja in returning from injury for that squad, while Kohli and Rishabh Pant were rested. 

Jasprit Bumrah was welcomed back into the fold after being rested for the home limited-overs series against West Indies and received the vice-captaincy for both formats. 

 

India Test squad: Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Ravichandran Ashwin, KS Bharat, Jasprit Bumrah, Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, Ravindra Jadeja, Virat Kohli, Saurabh Kumar, Priyank Panchal, Rishabh Pant, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Hanuma Vihari, Jayant Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav, Umesh Yadav.

India T20 squad: Rohit Sharma, Ravi Bishnoi, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, Deepak Chahar, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Deepak Hooda, Shreyas Iyer, Venkatesh Iyer, Ravindra Jadeja, Avesh Khan, Ishan Kishan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel, Sanju Samson, Mohammed Siraj, Kuldeep Yadav, Suryakumar Yadav.

New Zealand claimed seven wickets in the first session on day three to clinch an emphatic first Test victory over South Africa by an innings and 276 runs in Christchurch on Saturday.

Neil Southee added to his two day-two wickets with three more to complete a five-wicket haul as the Proteas capitulated to be all out for 111.

The triumph was New Zealand's first in the Test arena against South Africa since 2004, remarkably dating back 16 matches.

Yet it could not be more dominant, with South Africa bowled out for 95 in the first innings, with the Black Caps responding with 482 led by Henry Nicholls' century.

Black Caps captain Tom Latham said: "It's a fantastic performance. Winning the toss was a big part of it. It's probably the perfect performance."

New Zealand quick Matt Henry was named Player of the Match after claiming the opening wicket on the third day bowling Rassie van der Dussen, to finish with 2-32 to go with his first-innings seven-wicket haul and unbeaten 58*.

South Africa offered minimal resistance after resuming at 34-3, trailing by 353 runs, lasting only 41.4 overs in the second innings with Temba Bavuma top scoring with 41.

Bavuma teamed up with wicketkeeper Kyle Verreynne (30) for a sixth-wicket stand that offered hope of any semblance of a rearguard but he fell lbw to Neil Wagner (2-19), prompting a swift collapse.

The Proteas lost 24-5 upon Bavuma's dismissal, with Southee finishing with figures of 5-35, including the final scalp of Glenton Stuurman after a successful review to seal victory.

Southee also surpassed Richard Hadlee as New Zealand's all-time leading wicket-taker in Test cricket on home soil.

South Africa slumps to second-worst loss

It was a dismal defeat for South Africa, whose batsmen struggled throughout the contest, managing only 206 runs for the game. The loss was the tourists' second-biggest ever in Test cricket.

No Proteas' batsman managed a half-century while Bavuma and Verreynne's 41-run partnership was the side's best for the game.

Headaches for dominant Black Caps 

Reigning ICC Test world champions New Zealand are well placed to clinch the two-game series, barring a stunning turnaround in the second Test starting on Friday, also at Christchurch's Hagley Oval.

The Black Caps will have selection headaches for the second Test, with Trent Boult due to return from paternity leave, while Henry impressed covering for him and likely is not droppable.

New Zealand are on the brink of recording a big win over South Africa after a superb second day for the hosts in Christchurch.

Henry Nicholls scored his eighth Test century, with Tom Blundell falling just short of 100, as the Blackcaps finished on 482 all-out for their first innings.

That was in response to South Africa's measly total of 95 from day one, though the Proteas had hit back with the late wickets of Will Young and stand-in captain Tom Latham.

Neil Wagner, however, frustrated the tourists and decided to go out to entertain in Friday's first session, striking seven boundaries and two sixes off South Africa paceman Kagiso Rabada (2-113) and Glenton Stuurman (1-124).

Rabada got his revenge when he dismissed Wagner on 49, but the damage to South Africa's spirit had already been done. Indeed, even though Sturrman sent Daryl Mitchell (16) back to the pavilion and Aiden Markram (2-27) ended Nicholls' stand at 105, Colin de Grandhomme and Blundell put on a 76-run seventh-wicket partnership.

Blundell helped nail South Africa further into submission alongside number 11 Matt Henry, who followed up his seven-for from day one with a brilliant 58 not-out.

Marco Jansen eventually ended Blundell's stint, and New Zealand's innings, but there was more misery to come for the Proteas, who lost Sarel Erwee leg before wicket to Tim Southee (2-20) in the first over.

Dean Elgar fell to Henry (1-13), with Southee then claiming Markram's wicket to reduce South Africa to 4-3. Rassie van der Dussen (nine) and Temba Bavuma (22) steadied the ship, but matters look bleak for the tourists, who reached stumps 34-3 and trailing by 353.

Quick-scoring Blackcaps prove relentless

Wicketkeeper Blundell's 96 came from 138 balls and included 12 fours, while De Grandhomme's 45 was achieved from 42 deliveries at a strike rate of 107.14 as, along with Nicholls, the duo truly took the game away from South Africa after Christchurch native Nicholls had inflicted the initial major damage.

New Zealand had four partnerships of 50 or more, while South Africa's best in the first innings was 33.

More joy for stand-in Henry

Having been called up due to Trent Boult's absence – the bowler is on paternity leave – Henry has surely made himself undroppable.

He collected seven wickets on day one and then showed his class with the bat, becoming the first number 11 to score 50 after taking a seven-for.

New chairman Lachlan Henderson says Cricket Australia must take time to reflect on the "messy" manner in which Justin Langer's reign as head coach came to an end.

Langer resigned this month after only being offered a six-month contract extension on the back of a 4-0 Ashes thrashing of England.

The former Australia opener had also masterminded a T20 World Cup triumph in the United Arab Emirates last year.

Eyebrows were raised over Langer's dramatic exit, but Australia Test captain Cummins said the feeling in the dressing room was it was the right time for a new coach to be appointed.

New chair Henderson does not want a repeat of the way the situation was played out so publicly. 

He told reporters: "It got messy in terms of things playing out in the media. But the board's role was to receive recommendations from management. We made our decision based on that.

"With any significant decision like that boards should reflect on that process that was involved.

"It is unfortunate that a bit of that played out in the media, and we will reflect on whether that should have been accelerated through the summer."

Henderson will look to bring stability after taking over from interim leader Richard Freudenstein, who stepped in following Earl Eddings' resignation.

The new chair has vowed to be transparent in a new era for Cricket Australia.

"My communication style will be to be open, transparent, hopefully consistent," he said on Thursday. 

"I work in health care. We've negotiated a pandemic in the last two years. That's required a fair amount of resilience. So within the bounds of the confidentiality of boards, I hope that there's a really open and transparent way forward."

Matt Henry was pinching himself after matching the great Richard Hadlee's best Test figures on home soil as South Africa were skittled out for only 95 by New Zealand on day one of the series.

Henry was recalled with Trent Boult on paternity leave and the seamer grasped his opportunity on his home ground, taking a stunning 7-23 at Hagley Oval.

The 30-year-old ripped through the Proteas in Christchurch, Henry going joint-third on the list of the Black Caps' best figures by matching Hadlee's haul against India in Wellington back in 1976.

Zubayr Hamza top scored with just 25 in South Africa's lowest Test total against New Zealand, who closed on 116-3 in reply after the tourists dropped four catches in a nightmare start to the two-match series.

Henry was on cloud nine after claiming his first five-wicket Test haul and the joint-best Test figures by a New Zealander on home soil.

The 30-year-old said: "You've got to kind of pinch yourself a little bit when you hear those stats and to be able to share that with Sir Richard Hadlee is pretty special. It was a pretty surreal moment really."

Henry added: "I think just playing here at Hagley and having that experience and knowing what my lengths were and how to operate [were the key ot his heroics].

"As a bowling group I think we bowled really well together and we were able to create pressure at both ends and not really let them go anywhere, which is probably key to how we got the wickets."

 

Henry has had to be patient to get another chance given the strength of New Zealand's attack but reaped the rewards for staying positive.

He said: "It's not always easy at times, but you try not to focus too much on those external things you can't control and making sure I'm still in that mindset of just trying to keep getting better, and using experiences where I am playing cricket that when I do get my opportunity to take it.

"That's led me to where I am at the moment – where I can keep coming in and stay positive and not get too caught up in those external things and those noises."

Henry Nicholls was unbeaten on 37 at stumps after Devon Conway fell to Duanne Olivier (2-36) late in the day.

Dean Elgar says the Proteas could serve up some spice for New Zealand's South Africa-born players when the two-match Test series starts at Hagley Oval on Thursday.

Devon Conway will face his country of birth for the first time in Christchurch, where the prolific batter will look to continue an outstanding start to his Black Caps career.

Neil Wagner is another South Africa-born player who is set to do battle with the Proteas once again as New Zealand eye an elusive first Test series win over the Proteas.

The Zimbabwe-born Colin de Grandhomme is poised to return from injury for a Black Caps team that will not include captain Kane Williamson due to an elbow injury, while Trent Boult is absent as he awaits the birth of his third child and Ross Taylor has retired.

Elgar says he does not see Conway as a South African and has not ruled out a few words being exchanged with the left-hander in the heat of a battle.

Asked if the likes of Conway could be in for some verbals, the South Africa captain said: "Maybe, you never know. We respect the background that a lot of the Kiwis have, they have one or two South African or Zimbabwean-born players.

"But the way I view is that they are New Zealanders now and have obviously earned their qualifications, because they've been there for some years now.

"I don't view them as South African players, because they have a different badge on their chest. They've got the New Zealand flag on their chest, so the way I view it is come business time tomorrow, we are going to be all about business when we step over the white line.

"There will be times when we have chats with the guys, because I'm mindful the guys do know some of the guys from back home and that's perfectly fine, but when gameday comes, 11am tomorrow we have to be mindful of what we have to focus on as a side."

New Zealand were held to a 1-1 draw with Bangladesh in their last Test series, while the tourists are on a high from a 2-1 victory over India on home soil.

The Black Caps have only won four Test matches against South Africa and they will be led by Tom Latham in the absence of Williamson.

Latham: Opportunity knocks in the absence of key men

With Boult absent, Matt Henry will come into the New Zealand team and Henry Nicholls is set to move up a spot to number four in the order following Taylor's retirement.

Stand-in skipper Latham said: "Some of the guys that are usually in the squad aren’t here, but it does present opportunities for different guys to step up at different stages.

“It’s frustrating and disappointing they're not here, but that’s professional sport and professional cricket and some days you don't have a fully-fit squad.”

Hamish Rutherford was named in the squad seven years after his last Test appearance, but the opener is expected to be a spectator.

 

Erwee in line for Proteas bow

Sarel Erwee is poised to make his Proteas debut at number three but after Keegan Petersen was ruled out of the tour due to COVID-19, but Elgar was keeping his cards close to his chest when asked about selection on the eve of the opener.

"We have a clear indication of what our balance is going to be even though we haven’t finalised our team yet," said Elgar.

“Whether to employ a frontline spinner is a hot topic debate for us. It’s one of our bigger decisions, whether there’s space for one in conditions that aren't necessarily helpful.

"History has shown that the spinners don't play too much of a role at the Hagley Oval. So yeah, I can't say yes or no just yet. Maybe wait and see what happens at the toss."

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