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S Africa in command as Ntini cracks New Zealand

Written by: Staff

CENTURION, South Africa, April 16 (Reuters) Fiery fast bowling by Makhaya Ntini put South Africa on top in the first test against New Zealand in Centurion today.

New Zealand limped to lunch on the second day on 74 for five in reply to South Africa's first innings of 276.

Ntini bowled with aggression and pace, exploiting a low bounce in the pitch to take three for 22 from six overs.

South Africa, who resumed on 266 for eight, were dismissed in the sixth over of the day's play.

Left-arm paceman James Franklin trapped Nicky Boje in front for 23 with the first ball of the fifth over.

Two balls later, Franklin hit Ntini's off-stump but the bails were not dislodged.

Three balls after that Franklin lost out again when Dale Steyn skied a slash to point, where Hamish Marshall dropped what should have been a simple catch.

The innings ended four balls later when Steyn (13) played a similar stroke to a delivery from medium pacer Chris Martin and was caught by Kyle Mills at mid-on.

Franklin took four for 75 while medium pacer Mills, who did not bowl today, claimed four for 43.

The New Zealanders failed to come to terms with the pace generated by Ntini and Steyn, and they crashed to 45 for five in the 13th over of their reply.

ONE-HANDED CATCH Ntini uprooted Marshall's off-stump in the third over, bowling him for six, and in his next over caught and bowled Stephen Fleming for a five-ball duck.

Television replays suggested the ball had rebounded off Fleming's pad without hitting his bat.

Four overs later Scott Styris, who hit three fours in his 17, prodded at a delivery from Ntini and was superbly caught one-handed by a diving Herschelle Gibbs in the gully.

Peter Fulton stood firm for 29 balls for his 14 before steering a thick edge off medium pacer Shaun Pollock to wicketkeeper Mark Boucher.

Six balls later Steyn had Nathan Astle caught behind by Boucher for four.

Jacob Oram batted cautiously for his unbeaten 11, but a defiant Brendon McCullum, who scored 17 not out off 13 balls, reeled off three fours in the over before lunch.


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