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Medium fast bowler Chris Martin grabbed three wickets in four balls after tea to seize the momentum for New Zealand as they reduced South Africa to 191 for seven at the close of the first day of the first Test at University Oval in Dunedin.
Jacques Rudolph was 46 not out while Vernon Philander was on four at the close of the rain-effected day as New Zealand managed to wrest back the advantage after South Africa had been comfortable at 86-1 when they returned from the tea break.
Martin, however, produced an inspired spell of bowling that began when Graeme Smith chased a wide delivery and was caught for 53 in the first over after tea before he had Jacques Kallis well caught by Ross Taylor at first slip for a two-ball duck in his next over. He then trapped AB de Villiers lbw off the next ball, though South Africa's limited overs captain reviewed the decision, which was upheld and left the visitors struggling at 90-4.
Rudolph survived the hat-trick delivery then combined with Hashim Amla in rebuilding South Africa's innings with a 66-run partnership before Amla (62) was caught by Taylor after the ball deflected off Kruger van Wyk's gloves from the bowling of Daniel Vettori.
Mark Boucher was then run out for four after some smart work from Doug Bracewell at backward point before Dale Steyn was caught by Taylor after Martin Guptill had parried the simple catch to his captain, who bobbled the ball twice before he grabbed it on the third attempt.
Alviro Petersen (11) was the only wicket to fall in the first session after rain delayed the start of play for nearly four hours, when he was trapped in front by left-arm seamer Trent Boult.
Petersen had initially been given not out by umpire Aleem Dar but Taylor used the decision review system to have it overturned.
Scoreboard at the close of play:
New Zealand won the toss and chose to bowl
G. Smith c Nicol b Martin 53
A. Petersen lbw b Boult 11
H. Amla c Taylor b Vettori 62
J. Kallis c Taylor b Martin 0
AB de Villiers lbw b Martin 0
J. Rudolph not out 46
M. Boucher run out 4
D. Steyn c Taylor b Bracewell 9
V. Philander not out 4
Extras: (lb-1, nb-1) 2
Total: (for seven wickets, 59 overs) 191
Fall of wickets: 1-34, 2-86, 3-90, 4-90, 5-156, 6-161, 7-179
Still to bat: Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir.
Bowling: Martin 14-2-34-3; Southee 8-1-32-0; Boult 7-0-54-1;
Bracewell 14-2-39-1 (nb-1); Vettori 15-4-31-1; Nicol 1-1-0-0
New Zealand: Ross Taylor (captain), Martin Guptill, Rob
Nicol, Brendon McCullum, Kane Williamson, Daniel Vettori, Kruger
van Wyk, Doug Bracewell, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Chris Martin. - Reuters