From being 94 for 6 before lunch, South Africa were 218 for 6 at tea to complete the first wicketless session of the Test. With Bavuma on 61 and de Kock on 63, South Africa needed a further 51 runs to overhaul New Zealand’s first-innings total of 268.
After struggling against Jeetan Patel in the drawn first Test, de Kock had the offspinner’s measure in Wellington apart from one close call, on two, when a cut shot passed narrowly over the top of the stumps. His timing and confidence grew from there, taking a four and six off successive Tim Southee deliveries and meting out the same punishment to Neil Wagner as he raced to his eighth Test half-century in 55 balls.
Colin de Grandhomme had put New Zealand on top before lunch with the key wickets of Hashim Amla for 21 and Faf du Plessis for 23, as South Africa lost four wickets for 80 runs in the session to be 104 for 6 at lunch.
But, with only one further wicket needed to expose the South African tail and claim command of the Test, New Zealand were foiled by de Kock and Bavuma, who have so far put on 124 for the seventh wicket.
Bavuma had a life on five when he skied a Wagner bouncer and de Grandhomme slipped when moving to take what should have been a regulation catch. Batting more cautiously than de Kock, Bavuma faced 88 deliveries before he notched his sixth half-century pushing a Wagner bouncer through the covers for two.
De Grandhomme, who won selection more for his batting prowess but contributed only four, has compensated with the ball taking 3 for 33. Southee has figures of 2 for 65.
Source: Wisden India