South Africa beats New Zealand by 198 runs, splits series 1-1

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Christchurch: South Africa completed an extraordinary turnaround in form when it beat New Zealand by 198 runs in the second Test on Tuesday to square the two-match series.

After setting New Zealand a target of 426, South Africa bowled out the home team for 227 to win with more than a session remaining at Hagley Oval in Christchurch.

New Zealand won the first Test by an innings and 276 runs, bowling out South Africa for 95 and 111 at the same venue.

As if to defy that result, South Africa captain Dean Elgar made the bold decision to bat on winning the toss in the second test. Determined to atone for the first Test loss, the Proteas held the upper hand for most of the next five days.

“It was a bold decision and one we had to take as a unit,” Elgar said. “Luckily it paid off. It was something which could have backfired and I would have looked like an absolute idiot.

“This is a big win in the context of playing away from home, being 1-0 down and being beaten within 2-1/2 days in the first test and then bouncing back to what we’ve done now.” South Africa scored 364 batting first, led by a maiden century to opener Sarel Erwee, then bowled out New Zealand for 293 to take a 71-run first innings lead. Kagiso Rabada took 5-60.

Kyle Verreyne, thrust into the role of wicketkeeper-batsman by the sudden retirement of Quinton de Kock, also posted a maiden test century to lead South Africa to a declaration at 354-9 in its second innings, a lead of 425.

Any hopes New Zealand might have had of winning the Test crumbled before stumps on the fourth day when it lost its first three wickets for 25 runs. In an outstanding opening spell, Rabada removed both New Zealand openers, Tom Latham and Will Young, within the first three overs.

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