Steyn bags New Zealand openers before rain

With South Africa in a precarious position at 106 for four after 35 overs, Faf du Plessis (23) and Temba Bavuma (46) released some pressure with their 54-run stand for the fifth wicket. No further play was possible.

On paper, a two-match series against New Zealand looks like a soft start to South Africa's rebuilding process, given that it has lost just one of 13 home tests to the Black Caps since readmission to world cricket in 1991 - even with captain AB de Villiers ruled out by a range of niggling injuries.

Unfortunately for Steyn and his fellow bowlers, they walked off at lunchtime and didn't return after reducing New Zealand to 15 for two on the second day of the first Test.

Boult came back after lunch and made another crucial breakthrough when he had top-scorer Hashim Amla caught behind for 53.

The importance of openers in Test cricket is as important as the new ball bowlers.

De Kock and Bavuma rallied only for Santner to make his double strike and when Wagner then removed Vernon Philander the Kiwis were well on top before bad light caused a premature end to the day.

Philander almost made the initial breakthrough in the fourth over as he lured Latham forward outside off-stump, and the left-hander got a thick edge.

More news: Tigers' Miguel Cabrera out of lineup with biceps injury

New Zealand needed 10 overs to claim the final two wickets they needed to wrap up the Proteas' first innings for 263.

Umpire Richard Illingworth turned down the appeal and South Africa decided not to ask for a review.

Tim Southee struck with the eighth ball of the day when he bowled Steyn before South Africa had added to their overnight total of 236 for eight.

Rabada, who was dropped by Southee at third slip off Boult when he had 16, battled his way to an unbeaten 32 before Piedt was last man out, caught behind off Boult for nine.

Amla was in sublime form, stroking a succession of quality boundaries including three in one over from Doug Bracewell, and both he and Stephen Cook fell to outstanding wicket-taking deliveries from Trent Boult (2/42 in 17 overs) who was the pick of a competent New Zealand attack.

New Zealand were also ahead after two tests of the three-match series in 2003-04 before South Africa levelled the contest 1-1 at Wellington.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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