Keshav Maharaj 6-for
Keshav Maharaj recorded his best figures of 6 for 40 © Getty Images

South Africa displayed all-round cricket against New Zealand to draw first blood in the three-Test series, winning the second game by 8 wickets. In a rarity, South Africa’s spin bowlers turned the match on its head; Keshav Maharaj chiefly. Maharaj banked as many as 6 wickets in the second innings to bring down the spin-fearing Black Caps lower-middle order on Day Three. South Africa thus continue to maintain a spotless record at the Basin Reserve, Wellington, winning 5 games out of 7. They now have gained an unassailable lead of 1-0 with the third Test remaining to be played at Hamilton from March 25. The first match at Dunedin was a draw. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD, New Zealand vs South Africa, 2nd Test at Basin Reserve, Wellington

Asked to chase down 81 runs, South Africa openers Dean Elgar and Stephen Cook provided their side with a decent start. Cook, who is going through a rough patch, was lucky to be dropped on 11 after Jimmy Neesham misjudged a catch at second slip. However, Cook did not make good use this chance as he was soon dismissed for 11. Cook poked outside the off stump, yet again, and gave a simple catch to Neesham.

Hashim Amla joined Elgar in the middle with South Africa needing 63 more runs to win. Amla and Elgar were in no hurry whatsoever, and batted with ease. The pair played out a probing spell by Tim Southee and Neil Wagner. Elgar was dropped on 13 by Jeet Raval at first slip; to be fair is just stooping down on him. Elgar’s patience finally gave in as he fell to a short-ball off Wagner for 17. JP Duminy came out at No. 4 and not the usual batsman Faf du Plessis.

South Africa opted to take the extend play by half and hour and enforced a result on Day Three itself with few runs remaining to get. Amla suddenly turned up the ante and cashed on with a flurry of boundaries to remain unbeaten on 38 off 61 balls that included 5 cracking boundaries. Duminy’s contributed 15 off 16 that saw him striking the final run, that led to South Africa winning the tie by 8 wickets.

Earlier in the day, South Africa continued to operate with Maharaj from one end and a fast bowler from other in the post-tea session as well. Raval’s tryst with luck continued in the final session as he was dropped on 76, Cook the culprit at square leg. Maharaj’s perseverance finally came good in his 18th over as the knocked over the key wicket of Raval for 80. Raval came down the track to a delivery that kept on spinning away from him; he missed it and got stumped. Raval and Watling added vital 65 runs for the sixth wicket.

A rampaging Maharaj cut short Colin de Grandhomme’s stay in the middle. Maharaj gave the ball a good amount of flightand got it turn from middle and rattle the top of off stump. De Grandhomme was dismissed for a duck. Tim Southee gave away his wicket away trying to loft Maharaj. He holed out to JP Duminy at long-on much to the anger of BJ Watling. This was also Keshav Maharaj’s second 5-for in consecutive Tests.

The new man Jeetan Patel too departed without troubling the scorers. Patel got out to a trying to nudge the ball gave a simple catch to wicketkeeper off Kagiso Rabada. Maharaj finished off the New Zealand innings getting the wicket of a seemingly frustrated Watling for 29. With this wicket, Maharaj recorded his career best figures of 6 for 40 as well. New Zealand lower order collapsed like pack of cards to skittle out for 171. South Africa needed 81 runs to win the second Test and gain a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

Maharaj’s figure read an impressive 20.2 overs, 7 maidens, 6 for 40. The second best bowler was Morne Morkel, who picked 3 wickets for 50 runs while Rabada claimed just 1.

Earlier in the second Test, South Africa won the toss and put New Zealand in. It was Duminy, who turned up with a 4-for that had New Zealand reeling down the doldrums. It was only Nicholls, who struck his maiden Test ton that saw New Zealand put up 268 runs. In reply, South Africa too suffered a collapse, but as always Quinton de Kock came through for their side, along with Temba Bavuma, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel. New Zealand, trailing by 91 runs on Day Two, lost their top order cheaply thanks to Morkel’s outburst in the last session.

Brief score:

New Zealand 268  & 171 (Jeet Raval 82*, BJ Watling 39*; Keshav Maharaj 6 for 40) lost to South Africa 359 & 83 for 2 (Dean Elgar 17, Hashim Amla 38* ; Tim Southee 1 for 17) by 8 wickets.

Man of the Match: Keshav Maharaj

PHOTOS: New Zealand vs South Africa, 2nd Test at Wellington

FULL CRICKET SCORECARD, New Zealand vs South Africa, 2nd Test at Basin Reserve, Wellington

PHOTOS: New Zealand vs South Africa, 2nd Test at Wellington