Vernon Philander and Alviro Petersen led South Africa on a day of complete dominance as the two-test Sunfoil series began at Sahara Park Newlands on Wednesday with the tourists dismissed for a dismal total of just 45 before the Proteas closed the day on 252-3, a commanding lead of 207 runs.
Philander took the new ball and completed his eighth five-wicket haul in just his 13th Test match in the space of his first 25 deliveries to finish with an astonishing analysis of 6-3-7-5 as New Zealand crashed to 27-5. Morne Morkel (3-14) and Dale Steyn (2-18) then claimed the next five wickets between them as the tourists crashed to their third lowest total in Tests and the eighth lowest of all time.
An undefeated century from Petersen then guided South Africa to the close in a virtually unassailable position with the opening batsman set to resume on Thursday morning on 103 in the company of AB de Villiers on 19 not out.
New Zealand, who came into the match dogged by the controversy surrounding the sacking of ex-captain Ross Taylor, won the toss and elected to bat but their decision backfired catastrophically with a fragile line-up having no answer to the dominant pace attack, their innings lasting just 19.2 overs.
Philander and Jacques Kallis, who became just the fourth man to pass 13 000 Test runs during his innings of 60, were both understandably delighted to have performed so emphatically in front of their home crowd. “I always love playing at Newlands. It’s my home crowd and my home venue, and this is where I love to play my cricket so I’m very happy,” Philander said.
“I love playing at Newlands so it was nice that I could get that achievement here. The public have been fantastic to me. To get an ovation like that certainly means a lot to me, and these are very special moments that will live with me forever,” the veteran Kallis concurred.
Petersen and Hashim Amla consolidated the innings in the second session after captain Graeme Smith became the 11th wicket to fall in the morning session and a century-stand put the hosts in control of the game. Amla fell for a sublime 66 from just 74 balls shortly before tea, but Kallis, who arrived at the crease needing just 20 runs to reach his milestone, carried on the good work and maintained the scoring rate of four runs to the over.
He brought the crowd to its feet as he blazed a boundary off seamer Doug Bracewell through backward point to reach 23 from just 36 balls. The boundary also brought up the 150 for South Africa, but Kallis was far from finished and later cruised to his 57th half-century with a pull for a single off Chris Martin.
The second century partnership of the innings came up in the 50th over, before Kallis’ knock came to an end two overs later for 60 as Trent Boult had him caught behind with the score at 212 for three.
Despite hammering their guests on day one, however, Philander cautioned against expectations of an early finish: “We treat each game with respect, and we’ve got to start off fresh tomorrow morning. There’ll definitely be a little bit in the wicket tomorrow morning. I don’t think it’s going to be as easy in the second innings, so I think the bowlers are going to have to work hard and stay disciplined,” Philander warned.