Black Caps v South Africa recap: Day two – Rachin Ravindra notches maiden double century – New Zealand Herald

All the action from day two of the opening test between the Black Caps and South Africa at Bay Oval.

Day one report

Rachin Ravindra was playing in place of Kane Williamson when he set alight the World Cup with an electrifying unbeaten century in the tournament opener.

Batting together on the opening day of the first test against South Africa, the pair were less explosive but equally effective for New Zealand.

The precocious Ravindra and prodigious Williamson scored twin tons at Bay Oval on Sunday, lifting the Black Caps to an ascendant position on 258-2 after the depleted tourists had started brightly.

Debutant captain Neil Brand won the toss, named a team with 51 combined test caps and reduced the hosts to 39-2. Then, Williamson and Ravindra steadily seized command.

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In his first action since straining a hamstring three weeks ago, Williamson rarely reached his fluent peak, initially seeing his bat beaten with uncommon frequency while offering one golden opportunity from an unsightly slog. He marched to stumps unbeaten on 112, his 30th test century surpassing Don Bradman.

In his first test since January 2022, Ravindra was by design a different batter to the one who broke records in India, at one point going 19 overs between boundaries while having his edges probed. He eased to the end of play on 118 not out, a maiden hundred to his name.

It was a partnership of application, shots of aggression barely exceeding the number of half-chances created by a largely toothless attack. It reaped 219 runs, flowing more freely in the third session, and it was needed.

On a good surface that offered some movement but asked few questions, Devon Conway continued a dismal run by being trapped in front for one. The wicket came from Tshepo Moreki’s first delivery in test cricket as the 30-year-old rookie briefly threatened to upend pre-series assessments of his side’s lack of quality.

Moreki, one of six debutants, narrowly missed Williamson’s dangled bat from his first ball to the 97-test master, twice repeating the feat in the opening hour. Despite leaving at home their top squad, it seemed South Africa would still pose problems for New Zealand’s first-choice batters, a feeling enhanced when Dane Paterson found the thick edge of Tom Latham (20).

But reintroduced to the test team at No 4, having been deployed down the order in his previous three matches, Ravindra announced his arrival by assuredly pulling the only six of the day over deep backward square.

That touch of short-form class proved an aberration, however, with Ravindra reining in his natural game after Moreki responded the blow by immediately inducing an edge that dropped short of slip.

The Black Caps progressed to lunch on 65-2, having scored at 2.6, and the going was slower in the second session after Ravindra had seen an inside edge fly dangerously past his stumps, passing his previous test best of 18.

Kane Williamson scored his 30th test century. Photo / Photosport

At the other end, Williamson began finding the middle, stroking to the fence a couple of classical off drives. But having wrested away control, he momentarily lost it 10 minutes before tea – and should have lost his wicket.

The former skipper came down the track in an unusually extravagant attack of Ruan de Swardt, top-edging to extra cover where Edward Moore made a mess of what could have been a straightforward catch. The sight of Williamson’s raised bat the next over starkly illustrated an opportunity lost.

Beginning the final session on 125-2, Ravindra matched that milestone with only his fourth boundary, an encouraging adjustment from his World Cup carnage. The 24-year-old also followed his senior partner in enjoying a second life, de Swardt again unfortunate as Duanne Olivier shelled a chance to end Ravindra’s stay on 80.

From there, the boundary rope was found with greater frequency as the century race began. It was won by Williamson at 5.52pm, the 13th straight year in which he’s reached three figures. Ravindra followed seven minutes later, the first of what the Black Caps hope will be many.

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Sage Monroe

Hi there! My name is Sage Monroe and I am a politics and business blog article writer currently studying at the University of Vermont. Writing has been my passion since a young age, and I am fortunate enough to be able to pursue it as a career. I spend most of my time researching and analyzing current events to provide insightful and thought-provoking commentary on a variety of topics. My articles can be found on various blogs and news websites, and I am always looking for new opportunities to share my ideas with the world. When I'm not writing, you can find me hiking in the beautiful Vermont countryside or enjoying a good cup of coffee at my favorite local cafe.

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