Hamilton – Lanky fast bowler Chris Morris took 4-62 as South Africa limited New Zealand to 207/7 as it batted first Sunday on a slow and holding pitch in the rain-affected first one-day cricket international.
Morris took the first four wickets, reducing New Zealand to 82/4 and ensuring the home side struggled to achieve a competitive total in a match which started more than three hours late and which was cut to 34 overs per side.
His figures were bruised in his final over from which he conceded 25 runs – two sixes, three fours and a single – as Colin de Grandhomme (34 not out) and Tim Southee (24 not out) inflated New Zealand’s total with a partnership of 51 from 23 balls.
New Zealand had looked likely to fall well short of 200 until de Grandhomme and Southee accelerated their scoring – de Grandhomme with three sixes and Southee with three fours and a six. Their partnership might be decisive in a match which seemed likely to be low-scoring.
After taking 2-10 in the one-off Twenty20 international on Friday, Morris at first showed his command of New Zealand conditions, mixing his pace and length to keep batsmen guessing. Batting was already tough on a pitch which was too slow to encourage shot-making and a wet outfield on which lofted shots plugged and others pulled up short of the boundary.
Captain Kane Williamson was the only New Zealand batsman to fully command the conditions, reaching his 28th half century in one-day internationals from 48 balls before falling for 59. Opener Dean Brownlie with 31 and allrounder James Neesham (29) were the only others to prosper.
South Africa was happy to bowl first on winning the toss and read the conditions well when it included two wrist spinners in its lineup – Imran Tahir and left-armer Tabraiz Shamsi. Tahir, who took 5-24 in the Twenty20 international, went wicketless Sunday but still found grip and turn, as did Shamsi who finished with 1-39 from his full complement of seven overs.
Andile Phehlukwayo was also difficult with his seamers. But it was the new ball pair of Moriss and Kagiso Rabada (2-31) who were most effective, making use of the slow bounce which the New Zealanders found hard to judge and to time.
Wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock took two catches as did Farhaan Behardien deep on the leg side while South Africa were twice successful with reviews of not out decisions.
Morris’ first wicket was Tom Latham who fell lbw without scoring when a long-delayed decision to review the umpire’s not out decision saw that ruling overturned. Mitchell Santner (17) was also cut off by the television umpire when South Africa’s appeal for a caught behind was initially declined.
Morris also removed Brownlie to a catch by Behardien at deep square leg, Neil Broom (2) in the same manner and Ross Taylor – who made his 16th ODI century in his previous innings against Australia – for 1, caught and bowled.
Williamson held together the first half of the innings, showing an ability to score quickly while most of his team-mates struggled. He made particularly effective use of flat-bat shots when the slower bowlers strayed wide of the stumps.
Neesham and Santner gave the innings a little stability and set the scene for de Grandhomme and Southee’s final assault on the bowlers.