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SA beat NZ in Hamilton Test to lead

Associated Press
Mar 17, 2012 at 10:20am IST

Hamilton: Vernon Philander achieved his best Test bowling figures of six for 44 and Graeme Smith made an unbeaten half-century on Saturday as South Africa beat New Zealand by nine wickets in the second Test to lead the series 1-0.

Philander swept through New Zealand's tail after lunch on the third day to fill his fifth bag of five wickets or more in his short Test career. He posted match figures of 10 for 114 after taking four for 70 in New Zealand's first innings (185).

New Zealand were all out for 168 after trailing by 68 runs in the first innings and South Africa only needed 19.5 overs to make up the 101-run margin. Smith scored 55 and Hashim Amla 46 in an unbroken 98-run partnership.

SA beat NZ in Hamilton Test to take 1-0 lead

Philander played a key role in South Africa's win. (Getty Images)

The 26-year-old Philander became the first player in 130 years to reach 45 wickets in his first six Test appearances, a statistic that staggered him.

"Heck, now you're going back a long way," he said. "It's just going well for me. I've been bowling well in our first-class competition back home, so I'll take it and hopefully I can get us through another few Test matches this year."

"Bowling is like batting and when you have the form, you have to take advantage."

South Africa completed their win over New Zealand in only two and a half days to take a critical 1-0 lead in the three-match series, after the two teams drew the rain-affected first Test in Dunedin. The third Test starts in Wellington on Thursday.

New Zealand resumed their second innings on Saturday at 65-4, still trailing South Africa by three runs and with the best of their batters already back in the pavilion.

Kane Williamson, who resumed at 41 not out, lifted his total to 77 in the morning session, but lost two partners — Daniel Vettori for 21 and Kruger van Wyk for 20 — before New Zealand went to lunch at 142-6.

Williamson was then out without adding to his score only three balls into the second session — and South Africa quickly capitalized. Philander had Williamson caught by Mark Boucher, the South African wicketkeeper's 550th catch in Tests.

Doug Bracewell then followed without scoring and Mark Gillespie hit a six and two fours in a brief innings of 14 before becoming Philander's fifth victim, also caught by Boucher.

Philander completed his best bowling figures in Tests — topping his previous best of five for 15 against Australia — when he bowled Chris Martin to end the New Zealand innings. The Kiwis lost their last four wickets after lunch in only 27 balls, in 25 minutes.

South Africa suffered a momentary setback when they lost opener Alviro Petersen (1) in the second over. But Smith and Amla calmly and quickly led the tourists to their winning total. Smith took his 55 runs from only 60 balls with eight fours and a six, while Amla scored his unbeaten 46 from 56 balls with nine fours.

"It's always good to win a Test away from home but we had to work for it," Smith said. "We weren't so proud of our batting performance in the first innings."

South Africa took charge on the first day when New Zealand collapsed dramatically from 133-2 to 133-7 before being all out for 185.

Recalled fast bowler Mark Gillespie, playing his fourth Test and his first in four years, then took five for 59 as South Africa slipped to 88-6 before recovering to claim a precious 68-run first-innings lead. AB de Villiers made 83 and Morne Morkel was 35 not out.

New Zealand slumped to 7 for 3 in their second innings and never recovered to set a demanding total for the Proteas to chase.

"At 88 for six in the first innings it was a bit squeaky in our changing room," Smith said. "But I think it's a sign of a good Test team that we were able to get ourselves out of trouble and get ourselves into a position where we were able to dominate the game."

New Zealand's top order batting failed again, as it has throughout the series, but captain Ross Taylor said the Kiwis had to approach the final Test with a positive frame of mind.

"South Africa just outplayed us," Taylor said. "We played well in parts and were probably on top at a couple of crucial times but South Africa pegged us back."

"We've got to pick ourselves up from this. We're not out of this series and we can still draw the series come Wellington."

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