Heavy rain on Day Two at Durban delayed the start of play on Day Three © AFP
Heavy rain on Day Two at Durban delayed the start of play on Day Three © AFP

A wet outfield prevented any play before lunch on the third day of the first Test between South Africa and New Zealand at Kingsmead on Sunday. New Zealand remained on 15 for two in reply to South Africa’s first innings total of 263. Rain, which stopped play at lunchtime on Saturday, continued through Saturday night and into Sunday morning. Although the sun was shining at the scheduled resumption of play, there were extensive wet, muddy areas on a field which was re-seeded in June. Earlier on Day Two, Steyn, playing in his first Test match since December, bowled a mesmerising spell of two for three in six overs, dismissing both New Zealand opening batsmen. LIVE CRICKET SCORECARD: South Africa vs New Zealand, 1st Test at Durban

At 33, questions had been asked Steyn’s ability to come back with anything like the impact that made him the long-time number one-ranked Test bowler. He has dropped to number three after playing in only two out of South Africa’s previous eight Tests, failing to complete either because of groin and shoulder injuries. LIVE CRICKET UPDATES: South Africa vs New Zealand, 1st Test, Day 3

But on a greenish pitch under a heavily overcast sky, it was though a rewind button had been switched as Steyn bowled with immaculate control, backed up by Vernon Philander, also coming back from injury.

Bowling coach Charl Langeveldt said he was delighted to have the pair back, bringing their skill and experience to a South African team that has slumped from number one to number seven in the Test team rankings. Although Steyn had the better figures, Philander also looked close to his best form after missing South Africa’s most recent seven Test matches because of an ankle injury.

Brief Scores

South Africa 263 (Hashim Amla 53, Temba Bavuma 46; Trent Boult 3 for 52) vs New Zealand 15 for 2 (Martin Guptill 7, Tom Latham 4; Dale Steyn 2 for 3)