WELLINGTON, (Reuters) – New Zealand were in dire straits at lunch on the fifth day of the third and final test against South Africa, reaching the break at 26 for two, still 66 overs from the scheduled end of play.
The hosts had been set an improbable 389-run victory target in 81 overs after Graeme Smith declared South Africa’s second innings on 189 for three just over an hour into the final day at the Basin Reserve.
Morne Morkel dismissed Daniel Flynn and Brendon McCullum for ducks inside the first five overs as the hosts slumped to two wickets for one run.
They could have been worse off as Kane Williamson was given the benefit of the doubt when on seven, after Alviro Petersen claimed a low catch at point off Dale Steyn. Television replays were inconclusive as to whether the catch was taken cleanly.
Williamson (seven) and Martin Guptill (14) were together at the lunch break with the task of getting their side through to tea without any further loss of wickets.
New Zealand’s chase had already been hampered with confirmation captain Ross Taylor would need surgery on his broken left forearm after he was struck by a Morkel bouncer on Monday and would take no further part in the game.
“The specialist confirmed that the best management for the fracture of his left ulna would be to undergo surgery,” New Zealand Cricket medical director Ian Murphy said in a statement.
“This will give him the best opportunity to recover with the actual return date determined by the speed of his recovery from surgery.”
South Africa had resumed earlier this morning on 75 without loss and outh Africa put on 114 in 14.4 overs.
Although Petersen (39) was run out in the first over and Smith was brilliantly caught by a diving Doug Bracewell off Daniel Vettori for 41, AB de Villiers and JP Duminy set about plundering the New Zealand attack.
The pair added 83 runs in 8.2 overs and De Villiers’s dismissal for 68, from 50 balls, sparked the declaration. Duminy was left on 33 not out.
Vernon Philander took six for 81 in New Zealand’s first innings as the hosts were bowled out for 275, 199 runs short of the visitors’ 474 for nine declared.
South Africa hold a 1-0 lead in the three match series after they won the second test at Seddon Park in Hamilton by nine wickets.