New Zealand gave themselves a chance to save the second Test after being outplayed for two days when they reduced South Africa to 140 for 5 at stumps on day three in Christchurch on Sunday (February 27). After hitting 364 in their first innings and then knocking New Zealand out for 293, it gave the Proteas a 211-run advantage with five wickets left. South Africa dominated the opening two days, but New Zealand rescued themselves from 91 for 5 on Sunday thanks to a 133-run partnership between Colin de Grandhomme (120*) and Daryl Mitchell (60) on the docile pitch.

“We’re relatively delighted, but not completely happy,” Rassie van der Dussen said, adding that a 270-280 advantage would put South Africa in a good position. “The toughest issue is the ball swings,” says the player.

However, New Zealand thought that such a goal could be met. “It’s still a fantastic batting pitch,” said de Grandhomme, who set a new Test record with a score of 120 not out. “We’ll surely support ourselves to grab it if they set 270.” In the circumstances, De Grandhomme remarked, his innings were nothing extraordinary. “There wasn’t too much to worry about since it was a really nice wicket,” he added. “Just see the ball, smash the ball.” New Zealand needed fast wickets when South Africa opened their second innings 71 runs ahead, and Tim Southee and Matt Henry delivered, reducing the visitors to 38 for 3. After scoring eight runs off nine deliveries, a Southee inswinger beat Sarel Erwee’s bat and trapped him in front.