New Zealand struggling at lunch on fourth day of final Test against South Africa

South Africa players celebrate the fall of Martin Guptill on the fourth day Getty Images

Wellington: Mar 26, 2012

New Zealand’s positive reply to South Africa’s 474/9 evaporated on Monday as they lost three top order wickets to be 145/3 at lunch on the fourth day of the third Test in Wellington.

South Africa took all three wickets for 80 runs in the session and the damage could have been greater if catch opportunities had gone to hand.

When New Zealand resumed the day at 65 without loss, Martin Guptill and Daniel Flynn fought their way through a fierce spell of pace bowling from Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel at the Basin Reserve.

Guptill offered two difficult chances off Steyn and both were spilled in the gully by a diving JP Duminy whose relationship with the bowler did not get any better when he later moved to point and dropped McCullum.

South Africa were confident they had Flynn caught behind off Morkel on 35 but the appeal was rejected and the first review of the innings proved negative.

Flynn, a middle-order specialist recalled to the Test side after a two-year absence and converted into an opener, battled to 45 before his luck ran out.

Having seen off the opening attack, he fell in the first over by Vernon Philander, nicking his fourth delivery through to wicketkeeper Mark Boucher and ending an 86-run stand with Guptill for the first wicket.

Brendon McCullum had two lives, first when caught behind off Marchant de Lange, which the umpire ruled not out. Captain Graeme Smith was not prepared to risk his second review although replays showed McCullum was gone.

But nine runs later, after being dropped by Duminy, McCullum was caught behind for 31 when attempting to pull Steyn over square leg.

New Zealand’s situation worsened in the last over before lunch when Guptill was trapped in front for 59, his eighth Test half-century.

Philander, who has been the most successful South African wicket-taker in the series, again headed the bowling figures with 2/49. (AFP)

Brief Scores: South Africa 474 for 9 dec (Alviro Petersen 156, JP Duminy 103, Hashim Amla 63; Mark Gillespie 6 for 113) lead New Zealand 145 for 3 (Martin Guptill 59, Daniel Flynn 45, Brendon McCullum 31; Morne Morkel 2 for 49) by 329 runs.

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