South Africa close in on victory in first test

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JOHANNESBURG, Nov 11 (Reuters) Fast bowler Dale Steyn took three wickets as South Africa closed in on victory over New Zealand in the first test today.

New Zealand, who needed 531 to win, were 148-6 at lunch on the fourth day. Steyn, who took 5-34 in New Zealand's first innings, claimed 3-45.

New Zealand are trying to stave off their heaviest test loss, which is currently their 299-run defeat by Pakistan in Auckland in 2001.

The visitors resumed on 57-3 and lost their fourth wicket to the ninth ball of the day when Steyn had Scott Styris caught behind by wicketkeeper Mark Boucher for 16.

Steyn struck again eight overs later when Brendon McCullum (26) flapped at a delivery outside his off-stump and was caught in the gully by Herschelle Gibbs.

New Zealand slipped to 109-6 in the eighth over before lunch when Michael Papps edged a delivery from fast bowler Jacques Kallis and was caught by AB de Villiers at third slip for five.

Jacob Oram, batting with a runner because of a hamstring injury, stood firm for his 40 not out.

Daniel Vettori, who was 22 not out, shared an unbroken stand of 39 with Oram.

REUTERS SSC BD1723

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