TELFORD VICE at the Basin Reserve
WHAT with the pitch sporting more grass than a Long Street dope dealer, the odds that a South African bowler would star on the first day of the second test were good the moment Faf du Plessis won the toss and sent New Zealand in to bat.
No-one would have put a bet on JP Duminy being that bowler, but he claimed career-best figures of 4/47 in the home side’s first innings of 268.
“It’s something that I have been working on for a period of time and unfortunately I haven’t reaped any rewards, but I guess it comes down to opportunities,” part-time off-spinner Duminy said.
“I’ve been getting an odd over here and there so the opportunities haven’t really been there.
“Today was one of those days when I got an opportunity to carry on.
“The key is to get a wicket in your first three overs; then you get to keep the ball.”
That said, Duminy toiled for 6.2 overs, from which he conceded only 11 runs, before he claimed his first scalp by bowling Henry Nicholls.
The key to Duminy’s performance was patience on a pitch that brimmed with enough early life to helped South Africa reduce the Kiwis to 21/3 in the first hour.
Then the surface settled down and allowed Nicholls to score 118, his maiden test century in his 19th innings.
Duminy had his fair share of luck, what with Colin de Grandhomme caught by a wrongfooted Hashim Amla at slip after the ball had ricocheted off wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock’s gloves and BJ Watling caught behind after the edge bounced off the flap of the batsman’s pad as he kneeled to play his stroke.
“There are times in the game when things needs to go your way, and fortunately for us it happened that way,” Duminy said.
“But I think it comes down to being consistent in a certain area and with that, things will happen for you.”
That they did, what with South Africa taking New Zealand’s last five wickets for 51.
Duminy will hope things keep happening for him on Friday, when he will be part of South Africa’s efforts to right an innings that veered to 12/2.
By stumps, a dozen more runs had been added and no more wickets lost.
But South Africa know they have a fight on their hands.