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A 30th Test ton for Kane Williamson as new-look Proteas made to toil in New Zealand

South Africa were made to toil in the field as New Zealand took control of day one of the first Test in Mount Maunganui on Sunday.

The Black Caps would finish the day on 258/2 at the picturesque Bay Oval, with South Africa ruing several missed chances. 

Earlier, featuring a team with no less than six debutants, new Proteas captain Neil Brand won the toss and - like so many visiting captains before him - elected to field.

It was a buoyant start for the fresh-faced touring team as opening bowler Tshepo Moreki struck with his first ball in Test cricket in the second over. Pitching on a good length, the ball moved sharply and trapped the Johannesburg-born Devon Conway right in front.

The accurate Moreki and frosted-tipped Duanne Olivier continue to probe up front, with the former beating Black Caps captain Kane Williamson on several occasions. 

First-change saw journeyman Dane Paterson thrown the ball and he did not disappoint, with his searching wobbled seam eventually drawing the outside edge of Tom Latham's bat. 

The hosts could have been 44/3 when Rachin Ravindra knocked the ball straight to the fielder at cover and set off for a suicide single, only for the throw to be wayward. Unfortunately for the Proteas, that was the beginning of their fielding woes.

Batting became easier as the swing subsided and Williamson and Ravindra went about their business in a workmanlike fashion, taking them to lunch at 65/2.

With Olivier’s pace dropping, medium pacer Ruan de Swart got his opportunity with the ball. Looking to take the debutant on, a miss-timed slog from Williamson saw the ball balloon to extra cover, but Edward Moore couldn’t take the catch running backwards. 

Later, Ravindra was also given a life when a top edge flew down to deep backward square leg where Olivier dropped a fairly regulation catch while falling forward. Again, de Swart was left looking forlorn. 

After Tea, a resolute Williamson would notch up his 30th career Test hundred and raise his bat to the modest Mount Maunganui crowd. Ravindra’s century followed shortly after, beaming ear to ear as he reached his maiden Test ton.

With an all-seam attack, South Africa took the ball at the first opportunity with the hope of sneaking a couple of scalps before the day was out. But Ravindra was more than equal to the task, swiping Moreki away for a couple of boundaries.

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