Wed | Aug 23, 2017

Du Plessis hits ton, SA in command

Published:Monday | August 29, 2016 | 8:00 AM

CENTURION, South Africa (AP):

Stand-in captain Faf du Plessis led with an unbeaten century as South Africa made 481-8 declared in their first innings and had New Zealand 38-3 on day two of the second Test yesterday.

Du Plessis' fifth Test century ensured South Africa were in a strong position even before seamers Vernon Philander and Dale Steyn grabbed a wicket each before stumps.

Temba Bavuma then ran out Ross Taylor with a direct hit to give South Africa the perfect end to an ideal day at SuperSport Park, with the short two-Test series riding on the final game. The weather-affected first Test was drawn.

All of South Africa's top five batsmen made half-centuries after New Zealand's decision to put South Africa in to bat backfired. But Du Plessis, filling in for injured regular skipper AB de Villiers, was the one to capitalise and get to three figures, with his 112 not out allowing the home team the luxury of declaring in their first innings late on the second day.

ADDING ON RUNS

Du Plessis hit 12 fours and two sixes at his home ground, building on the platform laid earlier by Quinton de Kock (82), Stephen Cook (56), Hashim Amla (58) and JP Duminy (88).

That strong batting performance on a grassy pitch that appeared tailor-made for the quick bowlers came despite South Africa-born New Zealand pacer Neil Wagner's 5-86. No other New Zealand bowler had more than one wicket.

Philander and Steyn had a wicket each in the first five overs of New Zealand's first innings to send the openers back. Philander forced Martin Guptill to edge to slips for eight and in the next, over Steyn had Tom Latham caught behind for four.

Bavuma's run out of Taylor, who hadn't been dismissed in his previous four innings, put South Africa in complete control.