Cape Town: South Africa powered to a crushing innings and 27-run victory over New Zealand in the first Test at Newlands inside three days after bowling out the visitors for 275 in their second innings on Friday.
Morne Morkel finally broke through Dean Brownlie's stubborn resistance on the brink of lunch on Day 3, leaving Dale Steyn (3 for 67) and Vernon Philander to blast out New Zealand's tail before tea for a 1-0 lead in the two-Test series. Brownlie had held off South Africa's feared quicks for nearly the entire first session for his 109 and maiden Test century, but Morkel struck with the fifth delivery of the new ball in the penultimate over before lunch to end his fight and allow South Africa a clear sight at victory.
Steyn and Philander were on target in the second session to stamp home the Proteas' dominance in the afternoon with four wickets between them. "I don't think anyone can question our intensity in this game," South Africa captain Graeme Smith said. "It's a terrific start to the year."
Having bowled the Black Caps out for 45 on the first morning and taken a 302-run lead following their 347 for 8 declared, the South Africans ultimately romped to a heavy win to reinforce the No. 1 Test ranking they assumed last year in England and defended with a gutsy series victory in Australia at the end of 2012.
South Africa's dominant show over a Kiwis team diminished by the absence of a couple of key players — and Ross Taylor's troublesome exit as captain — was built on their feared fast bowling attack, which rolled out New Zealand for their third lowest score in Test history and rammed home victory ruthlessly at the end.
"The first day was very disappointing and we were outplayed in all three departments," New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum said. "South Africa bowled exceptionally well and we weren't up for the challenge ... we were outplayed."
Steyn, who passed 300 Test wickets and reached 50 against New Zealand during the match, unleashed a spell of fiercesome fast bowling as the end drew near to further bully New Zealand and capped the victory with the run out of Chris Martin. Brownlie's first international century was destined to be a sidenote to South Africa's dominance in the top-ranked team's first Test of the year.
Unbeaten on 69 overnight, but with New Zealand still 133 behind, Brownlie had bravely held off the Proteas for nearly the day's entire first session. He forced the home team to toil for almost 30 wicketless overs before unexpectedly — and maybe irresponsibly — lofting a catch to Robin Peterson at deep point when the safety of the dressing room and the lunch break was minutes away.
The loose cut shot gave Peterson a simple catch and the South Africans renewed vigor to finish off the match in the afternoon. Philander, the Man of the Match for his awesome 5 for 7 in the first innings and seven wickets in the Test, began New Zealand's final slide with the dismissal of the brave BJ Watling for 43 and Doug Bracewell for a duck.
Not content_cn with just beating the Black Caps, Steyn wanted to batter them as well, and he knocked Jeetan Patel off his feet with a short delivery before bowling him by splaying the stumps. South Africa's spearhead also hit James Franklin once on the helmet — and tried to repeat the blow a number of times — before forcing him to play on.
Steyn ended it when his throw from backward square leg to wicketkeeper AB de Villiers ran Martin out without the tailender having faced a ball. That final wicket ensured what was obvious for almost all three days of this game: South Africa had won the match, couldn't lose the two-match series and will have gone 11 series unbeaten since 2009 by the end of the second Test in Port Elizabeth.
The world's top Test team will expect much more from this mismatch of a contest, however, as Brendon McCullum and his young New Zealand team faced up to the "tough initiation" the new skipper had already talked about on the first day and in the aftermath of their confidence-shattering 45 all out.