Tom Latham won his first New Zealand toss and his bowlers capitalized. South Africa was sent to lunch at 44-4 on Thursday, the first day of the first test cricket.
Matt Henry was recalled to New Zealand on Hagley Oval. He took 3-16 runs, while Kyle Jamieson took a wicket. New Zealand made it through the top order. Tim Southee took two slip catches and all four batsmen were out.
Trent Boult is currently on paternity leave. Henry took over for him and scored the first breakthrough by dismissing South Africa’s captain Dean Elgar at 1 in the second innings. Elgar lost his seventh consecutive toss, and was forced to face New Zealand’s pace-heavy pitch on a seaming pitch.
The key was movement. The ball curled up in the air and moved away from the seam. The South African batsmen could not settle against three New Zealand right-armers, who swung and seamed the ball away from both the left handers and the right.
Elgar’s dismissal was a sign of things to come. Henry pitched for less than a length, and the Proteas captain was drawn forward with the bat ahead of his body to drive. The ball was caught at third slip by Southee, who made a difficult catch at the third slip after it moved off the seam.
On Thursday, Erwee was among two South African debutants. He opened alongside Elgar. Glenton Stuurman, a seamer, was also given a debut after Lungi Ngidi pulled out late due to a back strain.
Erwee was at 10 when Jamieson gave him a short ball. It angled across his face but landed on the stump. Erwee might have been allowed to leave, but he was forced to take a shot and feathered Daryl Mitchell the ball at the first slip.
Aiden Markram was dangerously alive. He survived two reviews for lbw, before Henry took him to South Africa at the age of 15.
Henry was an expert in familiar conditions and hit a perfect length. He got the ball off Markram’s hands and it went to Tom Blundell, who took it on an outside edge. Markram tried again to make the DRS reprieve him after he was twice ruled in favor of the umpire. However, replays revealed a clear advantage.
Four balls later, Henry had the wicket of Rassie van der Dussen (8). He angled his ball towards the batsman, and it went straight to off stump. Van der Dussen tried to adjust for the movement, but was caught by Southee at 3rd slip.
New Zealand will be looking to its bowlers to give it an advantage in the match after its batting lineup was weakened by the departures of Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson. Williamson continues to be afflicted by a chronic elbow injury, while Taylor retired last month from test cricket.
This is the first test that New Zealand has held since 2008 without at least one of its two batsmen, who have shared more than 15,000 runs.