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Records tumbled at Newlands on January 2, 2013. Abhishek Mukherjee looks back at a day when Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, and several others contributed to an eventful day.
New Zealand had reached South Africa on a high, having drawn the series in Sri Lanka thanks to a 167-run victory at the P Sara Oval in Colombo: Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor had scored hundreds, Rangana Herath was successfully dealt with, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene were dismissed cheaply in each innings, and Tim Southee and Trent Boult triggered collapses in each innings.
Before the first Test at Newlands commenced, however, there was a serious issue regarding captaincy. Brendon McCullum was appointed captain in ODIs and T20Is while Taylor was retained for the Tests. Taylor protested by stepping down as Test captain and withdrawing from the South Africa tour altogether.
As a result, McCullum’s New Zealand toured South Africa without the service of their premium batsman. With Southee also injured, a demoralised group of Kiwis went out to bat against Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander, and Morne Morkel after McCullum decided to bat.
Steyn and Philander were spot on, as usual, moving the new ball but not finding the edge. It took South Africa two overs to strike: Philander’s sixth ball moved slightly away, took Martin Guptill’s edge, and landed in the gloves of AB de Villiers. Poor Williamson battled it out against Steyn, holding one end up, but Philander’s third over changed things.
The third ball of the over came back a bit and hit McCullum’s middle-stump; three balls later he found the edge of Dean Brownlie and the ball ballooned into Graeme Smith’s hands at first slip. The tourists were 14 for three, and Philander’s figures read 3-3-0-3.
Steyn went all out at the other end, trying desperately for his 300th scalp. Williamson edged one off Steyn for four, and then hit a regal cover-drive off Philander for four more. They were the first runs conceded by Philander in the Test. Two balls later Williamson was hit on the pads, the umpire gave him out, the batsman opted for DRS, but the decision stayed.
The next ball (which was the first of his fifth over) pitched on the off-and-middle, swung away like a banana, and took poor BJ Watling’s edge on its way to de Villiers’ gloves. Philander’s spell read 4.1-3-4-5; he had picked up a five-for in 25 balls, which remains the fourth-fastest of all time (the fastest being Ernie Toshack’s 19 balls).
James Franklin saved the hat-trick and survived the over. He also took a single off the last ball. Smith provided Steyn with some respite after a five-over spell. Morkel set up Franklin with a few short-pitched deliveries, and then pitched the fifth one up: the ball went to Smith at first slip.
After giving Philander one more over Smith got Steyn to bowl from the other end: Steyn had been bowling without much luck, but the change of ends worked. The third ball was straight and fast; it was too good for Doug Bracewell, who tried to play across the line, and was clean bowled. Steyn became the fourth South African to 300 Test wickets.
Jeetan Patel attempted an ambitious drive off Morkel: he moved away, trying to hit through mid-off; standing at short mid-off Hashim Amla dived full-length to his left to come up with an exceptional reflex catch. Two overs later Morkel bounced Boult out, and Daniel Flynn, who had fought resolutely for 72 minutes, top-edged when he tried to pull a Steyn snorter.
New Zealand were bowled out for 45 in 116 balls in exactly 100 minutes. It was the third-lowest score since the Second World War (and the lowest since 1954-55) while it was the fourth-shortest innings since the War.
Man after man overtakes New Zealand
South Africa had two overs to bat before lunch, and Bracewell struck with his first ball, trapping Smith leg-before. South Africa went to lunch at three for one. After lunch, however, Alviro Petersen started with two exquisite boundaries off Boult of the first two deliveries.
Amla joined in the fun as well, hitting Bracewell for three boundaries in four balls. Amla then hit Chris Martin for two consecutive boundaries, helping South Africa overhaul New Zealand’s total with the first and reach fifty with the second. It had taken them only 69 balls.
Amla flicked Martin for a single to go past the New Zealand total on his own in the 14th over. He reached his fifty, but was soon out leg-before off Franklin. He had scored 66. Petersen hung around, going past the New Zealand score in the 29th, and both Petersen and Kallis hit Patel for sixes.
Kallis drove Bracewell for four to become the fourth batsman to reach 13,000 Test runs and slog-swept Patel for another six the next over. He, too, went past the New Zealand score; McCullum summoned Boult, who lured Kallis into a drive and found his edge. Kallis had scored 60.
Petersen was out the first ball off Boult the next morning. He had scored 106 – double that of the Kiwi score. An uninhibited de Villiers then broke loose, scoring 67 (going past the New Zealand score) before missing a straight ball from Chris Martin. Wickets fell in a heap as the hosts went for quick runs, and Smith declared the innings closed at 347 for eight.
New Zealand surrender meekly
After Guptill and Williamson were removed early with only 29 on the board (in the 18th over), McCullum counterattacked, adding 89 with Brownlie in only 81 balls. New Zealand finished the day on 169 for four, still 133 behind. Brownlie batted out of his skin, but his 186-ball 108 turned out to be a valiant effort. South Africa won by an innings and 27 runs.
New Zealand 45 (Vernon Philander 5 for 7, Morne Morkel 3 for 14) and 275 (Dean Brownlie 109, Brendon McCullum 51, BJ Watling 42; Dale Steyn 3 for 67) lost to South Africa 347 for 8 decl. (Alviro Petersen 106, AB de Villiers 67, Hashim Amla 66, Jacques Kallis 60; Chris Martin 3 for 63, Trent Boult 3 for 78) by an innings and 27 runs.
(Abhishek Mukherjee is a cricket historian and Senior Cricket Writer at CricketCountry. He generally looks upon life as a journey involving two components – cricket and literature – though not as disjoint elements. A passionate follower of the history of the sport with an insatiable appetite for trivia and anecdotes, he has also a steady love affair with the incredible assortment of numbers that cricket has to offer. He also thinks he can bowl decent leg-breaks in street cricket, and blogs at http://ovshake.blogspot.in. He can be followed on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ovshake42)
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