Not even a furious tailwind from the Vance End, nor heavy cloud cover, could conjure a breakthrough for New Zealand, after rain accounted for almost four hours of play first up. Seven overs into the second session, evening gloom set in to end a frustrating day for the hosts, who are quickly running out of time to affect a series-levelling win.
Alviro Petersen had been obdurate on the first day, as he fought to make his first substantial contribution of the tour, but adopted a brighter approach early on the second with a fifty beckoning. Chris Martin’s fourth ball was slapped through midwicket, before an edge from an attempted cover drive brought up the milestone. Positivity paying off, he continued in the assured vein, missing few chances to pierce the field when New Zealand erred.
Duminy eased to his half-century too, crisp cover-drives characterising his first Test innings in two years as South Africa’s third-wicket stand swelled beyond 100. Adept at finding gaps in the field, Duminy matched his lively partner for pace and outlook. An inside edge over the stumps and a top-edged hook that took him past 50 were the only bumps in an otherwise uncomplicated innings.
Ross Taylor might have rued not placing a third slip when second-slip Martin Guptill dived over, then palmed two edges off Petersen, but in between the chances, the New Zealand bowlers rarely looked like taking wickets in the wind. Martin swung the ball modestly early on, but could not maintain the movement for long, while Mark Gillespie’s gun-barrel straight deliveries were navigated without complaint. Daniel Vettori battled the northerly for much of the day, darting balls in to keep his end secure rather than attacking with flight. But even he could not help being unsettled by the gusts, as he regularly offered long hops the batsmen happily dispatched square.