New Zealand's Dean Brownlie, scored his maiden Test century during the first Test against South Africa. Photo by: Schalk van Zuydam

Cape Town – Dean Brownlie hit a maiden Test century as New Zealand continued their fightback on the third day of the first Test against South Africa at Newlands on Friday.

Brownlie made 109 before falling to the second new ball four minutes before lunch. New Zealand were 232 for five at lunch, 70 short of avoiding an innings defeat.

The Australian-born batsman reached his century with two sixes in successive overs off left-arm spinner Robin Peterson and earned a congratulatory tweet from former captain Ross Taylor, who was unavailable for the tour after a controversy over his captaincy. ?Great fight and well deserved mate,? tweeted Taylor.

South Africa took the second new ball immediately it was due and Morne Morkel made the breakthrough with his fifth delivery when Brownlie cut a short ball to Peterson at deep backward point.

Wicketkeeper BJ Watling (31 not out) provided doughty support as he and Brownlie defied the South African bowling attack in a partnership of 74.

Brownlie and Watling showed superb discipline as they blunted some tight, hostile bowling.

Only 63 runs were added in 30 overs but it gave New Zealand hope of avoiding an innings defeat which had seemed a distant prospect when they were bowled out for 45 on the first morning.

Brownlie, whose previous highest Test score was 77 not out against Australia in Brisbane in 2011/12, played a contrasting innings.

His first fifty was scored off only 44 balls, during which time he was twice dropped at gully. His second half-century was far more measured. His hundred was raised off 160 balls with 13 fours and two sixes.

With his score on 92, Brownlie took advantage of a short ball from Peterson to pull it for six over midwicket. In the next over he went down the wicket and hit the spinner for a straight six to raise his hundred.

He was dismissed after batting for 272 minutes. He faced 186 balls and did not add to his boundary tally. – AFP