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Maharaj propels SA to victory


South African spinner Keshav Maharaj in action during the 3rd day of the 2nd Test against New Zealand in Wellington, on Saturday.
 WELLINGTON, March 18: South African captain Faf du Plessis hailed an “impossible” victory after the Proteas recovered from a desperate situation to win the second Test against New Zealand by eight wickets in Wellington today.

Keshav Maharaj took a career best six wickets as New Zealand crumpled in their second innings and needed just 25 overs to reach the modest 81 to win.

Just five sessions after South Africa were on the ropes they found themselves with an unbeatable 1-0 lead in the series with one Test to play.

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson branded the change in fortunes and his side’s second innings capitulation when they were out for 171, as a “very, very poor” effort.

But du Plessis said the result was testimony to the determination of the South Africans.

“It’s happened a few times this season where we’ve been in impossible situations,” he said.

“At lunchtime yesterday, 90 for six, it’s not too long ago, and here we are.

“We’ve somehow found this ability to have a lot of faith in our batting line up or whatever, for guys in the team to stand up when there’s a pressure situation.”

From being 94 for six before lunch on Friday, South Africa rallied to be all out for 359 to take a 91-run lead into the second innings.

On a flattening track and with nearly three days remaining, there was time for New Zealand to mount a strong comeback.

Instead their second innings was done in 63.2 overs with a career best 80 by Jeet Raval and a 65-run partnership between Raval and BJ Watling (29) the only sign of resistance. – AFP

Scorecard

New Zealand first innings 268

South Africa first innings (overnight 349-9): S Cook c Neesham b Southee 3, D Elgar c Neesham b de Grandhomme 9, K Rabada b Southee 9, H Amla c Nicholls b de Grandhomme 21, J Duminy c Nicholls b Wagner 16, F du Plessis c Watling b de Grandhomme 22, T Bavuma c Neesham b Wagner 89, Q de Kock c Watling b Neesham 91, V Philander not out 37, K Maharaj c Williamson b Wagner 1, M Morkel b Patel 40. Extras: (B-4, LB-5, W-12) 21. Total: (all out in 98 overs) 359. Fall of wickets: 1-12, 2-12, 3-26, 4-59, 5-79, 6-94, 7-254, 8-290, 9-302, 10-359. Bowling: Southee 27-7-98-2, de Grandhomme 23-7-52-3, Wagner 22-1-102-3, Patel 14-1-57-1, Neesham 12-2-41-1.

New Zealand 2nd innings: T Latham c Duminy b Morkel 6, J Raval st de Kock b Maharaj 80, K Williamson c de Kock b Morkel 1, N Broom c de Kock b Morkel 20, H Nicholls b Maharaj 7, J Neesham c du Plessis b Maharaj 4, B Watling c Duminy b Maharaj 29, C de Grandhomme b Maharaj 0, T Southee c Duminy b Maharaj 4, J Patel c de Kock b Rabada 0, N Wagner not out 4. Extras: (B-10, LB-1, WD-5) 16. Total: (all out in 63.2 overs) 171. Fall of wickets: 1-16, 2-26, 3-64, 4-86, 5-90, 6-155, 7-161, 8-167, 9-167, 10-171. Bowling: Morkel 11-0-50-3, Philander 12-3-28-0, Rabada 17-5-38-1, Maharaj 20.2-7-40-6, Duminy 3-1-4-0.

South Africa 2nd innings: S Cook c Neesham b Southee 11, D Elgar c Watling b Elgar 17, H Amla not out 38, J Duminy not out 15. Extras: (W-2) 2. Total: (two wickets in 25 overs) 83. Fall of wicket: 1-18, 2-48. Bowling: Southee 6-2-17-1, de Grandhomme 8-1-20-0, Wagner 8-2-18-1, Neesham 3-0-28-0.

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