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Disastrous opening day for Proteas against Black Caps

A catastrophic first-inning collapse and poor fielding led to a dismal opening day for the Proteas as they were flipped for 95, before letting the Black Caps reach the end of the game at 116/3 in the first Test at Hagley Oval in Christchurch on Thursday.

A Matt Henry masterclass with the ball saw the New Zealander quickly hit the best numbers of 7/23, as he broke the Proteas batting order to have them all to tea.

The visitors then had to be extremely sharp with the ball and in the field to try and pull the match back, but it was only the bowlers who did their job and created chances, only for the outfield players to make four catches in the final session.

At the start of the game, New Zealand had won the toss and immediately chose to bowl in perfect conditions, which was confirmed when the Proteas struggled to 44/4 at lunchtime.

Henry removed Dean Elgar (1) in the second over, caught on third slip to take the early wicket in the second over, then returned just before lunch to get rid of Aiden Markram (15) and Rassie van der Dussen ( 8), both caught in the back of the same over to get the visitors in trouble at half time.

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In the afternoon session, only Zubayr Hamza (25) and Kyle Verreynne (18) showed any resistance with a 33-run sixth-wicket partnership, but when Henry broke that standard, he helped clear the tail with a four-wicket burst into eight balls, as the Proteas lost their last five wickets for 10 runs.

The Black Caps chase got off to a rough start as the Proteas bowlers took advantage of the good conditions.

Opener Tom Latham was dropped at nine by Marco Jansen at gully to deny debutant Glenton Stuurman his first test wicket, before Jansen attacked himself and got the breakthrough, with Will Young (8) being caught behind by keeper Kyle Verreynne.

The drop didn’t cost much as Latham was then bowled by Duane Olivier for 16, while New Zealand dropped to 36/2, but Johannesburg native Devon Conway (36) and Henry Nicholls (37 not out) then combined for a 75 – perform the third wicket stand to gain a lead.

Nicholls was dropped twice during the partnership, on five by Hamza in third place for Olivier’s bowling and then by Temba Bavuma on 23 for Kagiso Rabada’s bowling.

Olivier finally broke through just before the end of the game, when Conway Inside shoved on his stumps with the score at 111/3.

However, the Proteas still had time to make another catch when Van der Dussen dropped night watchman Neil Wagner in the latter over to a dumb mid-on from Olivier to cap off a miserable day.

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