The 29-year-old had been seeking to become the sixth South Africa batsman to score a century in both innings of a Test, but fell short when he was caught by Kane Williamson for 89 from offspinner Jeetan Patel. The previous such instance was when Hashim Amla faced 560 deliveries in the Kolkata Test in 2009-10. Back to the DRS drawing board for New Zealand. So far, 872 runs have been scored in 340.1 overs in Dunedin.
It was a decision which New Zealand coach Mike Hesson said was not taken lightly but with the state of the wicket he was hoping to have batted first and have two spinners available in the fourth innings. South Africa were 254 for five at that stage. Graeme Smith had made 234 runs in the Dubai Test in 2013-14.
If this Test goes the duration, there are only three days before the second Test starts in Wellington on March 16, which gives New Zealand six days to name a replacement if necessary. Midway through the seventh over of South Africa’s second innings the alarm in the main stand at University Oval sounded.
A 126-run stand was just what South Africa needed as Du Plessis brought up his 10th half-century before he was sent back to the pavilion by James Neesham (1-29) prior to the tea break. South Africa should be able to build that up today with Elgar continuing and the middle order pitching in.
Elgar then holed out in the deep as he went for a rare big shot, off Jeetan Patel (2-72), but didn’t quite get to the pitch of the ball and mis-timed it.
Elgar put on an unbeaten 44-run partnership with his captain Faf du Plessis, in yet another slow-moving session, but not before losing Duminy at the other end shortly into the second session.
Bavuma will be forgiven for feeling aggrieved, not just at himself, but a little bit at Quinton de Kock, too, for not digging in at sticking it out with him. But, for now, the ball is in South Africa’s court.
South Africa were in trouble at 22 for three when du Plessis joined Elgar to mount their rescue mission.