New Zealand ground out a narrow lead over South Africa on the second day of the first Test in Dunedin on Thursday, despite a four-wicket haul by Vernon Philander.
With New Zealand bowled out for a disappointing first innings total of 238, Philander's four for 50 played a crucial part in preventing New Zealand from building on a solid start with the bat.
The Black Caps ended the day at 243 for nine, a five-run advantage that appears unlikely to increase significantly with tail-enders Trent Boult (8) and Chris Martin, yet to score, at the crease.
While the New Zealanders will be pleased to overhaul South Africa's total, they face the prospect of batting last on a University Oval pitch likely to deteriorate on the final days.
South Africa, resuming at 191 for seven, was bowled out in the first hour of play having added 47 runs with Jacques Rudolph notching up his 10th Test half century.
South Africa's attack ensured runs were at a premium defending the modest total, Philander enjoying early success in removing debutant opener Rob Nicol for six just before lunch.
Morne Morkel struck immediately after the break, clean bowling Martin Guptill for 16 then giving Ross Taylor a torrid time.
The bowler sent deliveries crashing into Taylor's sternum, shoulder and gloves, making it a bruising 28th birthday for the New Zealand skipper on his return from a six-week injury lay-off. Brendon McCullum also faced his share of bouncers but combined with Taylor for a stubborn 65-run partnership.
Spinner Imran Tahir was brought into the attack for a change of pace, making the breakthrough when McCullum mistimed a sweep on 48 and top-edged to the bowler.
Taylor (44) followed three overs later, nicking the ball to wicketkeeper Mark Boucher.. — AFP
South Africa — 1st innings: G. Smith c Nicol b Martin 53, A. Petersen lbw b Boult 11, H. Amla c Taylor b Vettori 62, J. Kallis c Taylor b Martin 0, AB de Villiers lbw b Martin 0, J. Rudolph c Boult b Bracewell 52, M. Boucher (run out) 4, D. Steyn c Taylor b Bracewell 9, V. Philander c Williamson b Martin 22, M. Morkel (not out) 13, I. Tahir (run out) 10; Extras (lb-1, nb-1): 2; Total (in 68.2 overs): 238.
Fall of wickets: 1-34, 2-86, 3-90, 4-90, 5-156, 1-161, 7-179, 8-214, 9-222.
New Zealand bowling: Martin 18-2-56-4, Southee 10-1-40-0, Boult 8-0-58-1, Bracewell 16.2-2-52-2, Vettori 15-4-31-1, Nicol 1-1-0-0.
New Zealand — 1st innings: R. Nicol c Smith b Philander 6, M. Guptill b Morkel 16, B. McCullum c & b Tahir 48, R. Taylor c Boucher b Morkel 44, K. Williamson c Boucher b Philander 11, D. Vettori c & b Kallis 46, K. van Wyk c Smith b Philander 36, D. Bracewell b Steyn 25, T. Southee c Smith b Philander 0, T. Boult (batting) 8, C. Martin (batting) 0; Extras (lb-3): 3; Total (for nine wkts in 86 overs): 243.
Fall of wickets: 1-7, 2-41, 3-106, 4-116, 5-135, 6-188, 7-229, 8-229.
South Africa bowling: Steyn 19-4-71-1, Philander 17-1-50-4, Morkel 18-5-52-2, Tahir 24-6-55-1, Kallis 8-2-12-1.