Friday, 22 September 2017

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Skipper Kane Williamson is offering no excuses for New Zealand's embarrassingly heavy second-Test defeat to South Africa in Wellington. The Proteas breezed past the Blackcaps for an eight-wicket win inside three days at the Basin Reserve, chasing down a tiny 81-run target late on Saturday. Highlights: South Africa claim eight-wicket win over Blackcaps in second Test in Wellington Openers Stephen Cook and Dean Elgar disappeared along the way but Hashim Amla (38) and JP Duminy (15) were patient in wrapping up the inevitable win. "I'd certainly sum up the day as very, very poor. It was extremely disappointing for it to slip away so quickly," Williamson said. "I suppose the frustrating part for us is when you are playing a side like South Africa and you have them under pressure, you need to keep them there. "That's the challenge and you need to do it for a long period of time because if you don't, they can change the shape of the match quite quickly." South African captain Faf du Plessis said the win was a tribute to his team's resilience. "It's happened a few times this season when we've been in impossible situations and every time there's one or two guys putting their hands up and making the impossible very possible," he said. "They're creating opportunities when we're under the pump, under pressure and just turning it around." After battling to 268 in their first innings, New Zealand had the South Africans teetering at 94-6 just before lunch on day two. But Quinton de Kock and Temba Bavuma's 160-run partnership for the seventh wicket and a stubborn 57-run last-wicket stand between Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander saw South Africa through to 359 early on Saturday. The Blackcaps' second innings never really got started, with the South African pace attack dominating early. Morkel grabbed the first three wickets in removing Tom Latham for six, Williamson for one and Neil Broom for 20 before spinner Keshav Maharaj stepped up with a man-of-the-match performance. Maharaj, who returned figures of 5-94 in the drawn first Test in Dunedin last week, finished with a career-best 6-40 off 20.2 overs. He removed Henry Nicholls, unable to repeat his first-innings heroics of 118, for seven then Jimmy Neesham for four before snaring the key wicket of Jeet Raval, whose 80 was the only innings of substance for the Blackcaps. Williamson said Maharaj and JP Duminy, who picked 4-47 in the first innings, had both bowled well. "But on a surface that was far more suited to the seam bowlers, to lose that many wickets to spin, is disappointing and something we need to address. "We do need to play that a hell of a lot better." The Proteas take a 1-0 series lead going into the third Test in Hamilton next week.

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