South Africa fight to avoid first Test defeat in New Zealand | Cricket

South Africa made a dreadful start but dug in at 62-2 on Wednesday as they fought to avoid defeat against hosts New Zealand in the first Test.

South Africa's Edward Moore is dismissed during day four of the first cricket test match vs New Zealand(AFP)
South Africa’s Edward Moore is dismissed during day four of the first cricket test match vs New Zealand(AFP)

The weakened South Africans toiled for 28 overs before lunch on day four, with Zubayr Hamza at the crease on 31 and Raynard van Tonder — one of six debutants in their side — unbeaten on 26.

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New Zealand are in a dominant position having declared their second innings closed at 179-4 before play began, setting South Africa the huge target of 529 in two full days’ play.

With the Bay Oval pitch taking considerable turn, Hamza and van Tonder called on their powers of concentration in an unbroken stand of 57 after debut openers Neil Brand and Edward Moore departed inside the first four overs.

Brand was bowled for three by a late inswinger from Black Caps captain counterpart Tim Southee.

Moore fell four balls later without scoring after driving a Matt Henry delivery straight to cover.

It completed a forgettable first international match for Moore, who dropped Kane Williamson in each of New Zealand’s innings before the world-class batter went on to score a century both times.

Van Tonder scored a two-ball duck in the first innings on debut but has impressed with his stoic approach in seeing off 74 deliveries.

Hamza also hasn’t offered a clear chance in the 78 balls he has faced in what is his first Test appearance for two years.

South Africa selected a depleted squad for the two-Test series, with most first-choice players involved in their domestic Twenty20 competition.

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