The end is nigh for the Kiwis
New Zealand 45 and 232/5 (Brownlie 109, McCullum 51, Watling 31*, Kallis 2/22, Peterson 1/42) South Africa 347/8 declared (Petersen 106, De Villiers 67, Amla 66, Kallis 63, Boult 3/78, Martin 3/63)
New Zealand trails by 70 runs
New Zealand, through a fighting maiden Test century by Dean Brownlie, have gone a long way in ensuring that they have a chance of making South Africa bat again.
They still have some way to go with the tail left and a Proteas attack, armed with the second new ball, will want to go in for the kill.
Cape Town was nowhere near its normally boiling January temperatures, but for the first time in the match, a session had been negotiated with only one wicket falling.
Brownlie’s heroics cannot be called the miracle of Newlands as he is no VVS Laxman and BJ Watling is no Rahul Dravid, but the ease at which they handled the South African pace bowlers was easy on the eye, even though bad balls were few and far between.
Robin Peterson’s spin, on a track that was increasing taking spin, became harder to handle, with countless deliveries turning and biting outside offstump.
Brownlie’s edge missed countless of these, indicating the amount of luck he had on his side.
It has been an innings of two phases for Brownlie, who got a peach of a delivery in the first innings. He picked up the cudgels after the loss of Kane Williamson.
Yes, there were two lives on 23 off Vernon Philander and Dale Steyn, but he has made the most of them through his vicious cut and scorching drives.
After he got to 60, Graeme Smith placed a deep point to plug the boundaries and the shot. Brownlie decided to find them elsewhere.
Even though Peterson beat him countless times outside offstump, with one so close it had to be referred to Kumar Dharmasena to check whether it was stumped or had grazed the offstump.
His century, made off 160 balls was brought up with a massive inside out six off Peterson and the celebration itself was modest in recognition of the work New Zealand still had to do.
It was coincidental but fitting that his labourious 74-run stand with BJ Watling, which consumed 222 balls, was ended by his favourite cut shot in the first over of the second new ball five minutes before lunch. Watling still remains, with his 162-minute vigil unbroken but the tail is nigh and so is the end.
Khanyiso Tshwaku at Newlands