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Heavy rain ended any chance of a result in the first Test between South Africa and New Zealand but Ross Taylor's team may have come away with a hint more confidence than when they first set foot on University Oval in Dunedin.
The hosts were soundly beaten in the one-day series and few people expected them to fare much better in the Tests, despite having won three of their previous four matches, though two of those were against Zimbabwe.
However, the bowling of Chris Martin and Doug Bracewell in the first innings, coupled with the manner in which Taylor and Brendon McCullum curbed their attacking instincts with the bat to resurrect their second, showed the hosts could be competitive in the three-match series.
If New Zealand's batsmen had become the slightest bit complacent after facing Zimbabwe's attack, the South African pace bowlers soon knocked that out of them.
Vernon Philander's pace and bounce off a length, and late movment away from off stump, consistently tested the batsmen and the home side only establised a 35-run lead after Trent Boult's cameo role, which included belting Philander for three sixes and a four in one over.
After Martin had ripped the heart out of the South African batting with three wickets in four balls in the first inning, Bracewell proved instrumental in the second, taking two wickets in an over to leave tourists with an overall lead of 12 runs with eight wickets in hand.
South Africa, who could have taken top spot in the Test rankings with a 3-0 series win, turned the match their way when captain Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis both scored centuries and combined for a 200-run partnership that virtually batted the home side out of the match by the end of the third day.
New Zealand slumped to 55/2 in their second innings and were in danger of losing the match inside four days before McCullum (58 not out) and Taylor (48 not out) steadied the ship.
The naturally aggressive duo had thrown away their wickets with rash strokes in the first innings but tempered their all-out attacking instincts to keep the hosts in the match.
The duo were still scoring at more than four runs an over before they took an even more conservative approach shortly before stumps on the fourth day.
New Zealand were looking to become just the fifth side to chase down a target in excess of 400 but the weather had the final say.
The hosts are expected to name their squad for the second test in Hamilton on Monday.
Tim Southee may be in danger of losing his place after the 23-year-old finished with figures of 0-140 from 36 overs. Local media have suggested that leg spinner Tarun Nethula, who played in the one-day series, could be brought into the side for the match at Seddon Park if the wicket is dry.
Opening batsman Rob Nicol looked uncomfortable against Morkel and Philander and hee too could also be under scrutiny, though he could benefit from Dean Brownlie's broken finger and Jesse Ryder's decision to take a break from cricket to deal with personal problems. – Reuters