CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP):
South Africa powered to a crushing innings and 27-run victory over New Zealand inside three days in the first Test at Newlands, bowling out the tourists for 275 in their second innings yesterday and quickly realising pre-tour predictions of a mismatched contest.
Morne Morkel finally broke through Dean Brownlie's stubborn, and lone, resistance on the brink of lunch on Day 3, leaving Dale Steyn (3-67) and Vernon Philander (2-76) to blast out New Zealand's tail before tea for a 1-0 lead in the two-Test series between teams at opposite ends of the sport's rankings.
Brownlie had held off top-ranked South Africa's feared quicks for nearly the entire first session for his 109 and maiden Test century, but Morkel struck with the fifth delivery of the new ball in the penultimate over before lunch to end his lingering fight and allow the home team a clear sight at victory.
Steyn and Philander leapt at the chance and were on target in the afternoon to stamp home the Proteas' dominance with four wickets between them.
"I don't think anyone can question our intensity in this game," South Africa captain Graeme Smith said. "It's a terrific start to the year."
Having bowled out the Black Caps for 45 on the first morning and taken a 302-run lead following their 347-8 declared, the South Africans ultimately romped to a heavy win to reinforce the No. 1 Test ranking they assumed last year in England and defended with a gutsy series victory in Australia at the end of 2012.
South Africa's dominance of a Kiwi team ranked No. 8 to sit only above Bangladesh - and diminished by the absence of a couple of key players and Ross Taylor's troublesome exit as captain - was built on its feared fast bowling attack, which rolled out New Zealand for their third-lowest score in Tests and rammed home victory ruthlessly at the end.
"To lose a Test match inside three days hurts immensely," New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum said after his first match in charge. "There's a very disappointed bunch of lads in the change room. Said it after Day One and that hasn't changed. South Africa bowled exceptionally well and we weren't up for the challenge ... we were outplayed."
Steyn, who passed 300 Test wickets and reached 50 against New Zealand during the match, unleashed a spell of fierce fast bowling as the end drew near to further bully New Zealand and capped the victory with the run out of Chris Martin.
Steyn and Philander also ensured Brownlie's first international century was destined to be a sidenote to South Africa's one-sided win in their first Test of the year, which also set up the possibility of a fifth straight series victory.
"Obviously we would love to build on the momentum we created in 2012," Smith said. "We're a mature team now. I almost see us as a manly team. We've grown up now. We've come through a lot together."
Unbeaten on 69 overnight, but with New Zealand still 133 behind, Brownlie had bravely held off the Proteas for nearly the day's entire first session.
He forced the home team's attack to toil for almost 30 wicketless overs before unexpectedly - and maybe irresponsibly - lofting a catch to Robin Peterson at deep point off Morkel when the safety of the dressing room and the lunch break was minutes away.
The loose cut shot gave Peterson a simple catch and the South African fast bowlers renewed vigour and they swiftly finished off the match in the afternoon.
"This unit, the way we operate, it's special," Philander said. "We just understand each other well."
Philander, the Man of the Match for 5-7 in the first innings and seven wickets in the test, began New Zealand's final slide with the dismissal of the brave BJ Watling for 43 and Doug Bracewell for a duck.