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Napier - South Africa are currently on 41/1 after 6 overs.
A five-wicket haul for Morne Morkel saw New Zealand dismissed for 230 after a batting collapse in the second one-day international against South Africa at McLean Park on Wednesday.
New Zealand were on track for a 300-plus innings but slumped from 131 for one to 184-7 in the space of 13 overs to put South Africa firmly in command on an easy batting track.
Victory for the tourists would give them an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the three-match series, and following their 2-1 win in the Twenty20 series they would take a commanding psychological advantage into the looming Tests.
Captain Brendon McCullum was again New Zealand's leading run scorer but skied Lonwabo Tsotsobe and was caught by Justin Ontong for 85.
It was the second wicket to fall in New Zealand's batting powerplay which backfired on McCullum, with the expected five-over surge producing just 20 runs and costing three wickets.
After the early loss of Rob Nicol with the score at 24, McCullum joined opener Martin Guptill in a 107-run stand for the second wicket which was broken with the introduction of Jacques Kallis.
His removal of Guptill for 58 in his opening over started the New Zealand slide, which saw senior batsmen Kane Williamson (13) and Jesse Ryder (0) quickly removed.
The tall Morkel then joined the attack and dismissed James Franklin (6) and Kyle Mills (0) in successive balls.
Tim Southee staged a minor revival, contributing 28 in a 37-run partnership with Andrew Ellis, before Morkel was again on a hat-trick, removing Southee and Tarun Nethula in two balls.
He finished off the innings with the wicket of Ellis (19) in his next over to finish with five for 38 off 9.3 overs while Tsotsobe took three for 43 from his 10 overs.
South Africa are currently on 39/1 after 5.3 overs. - Sapa-AFP, Reuters