New Zealand was in tatters at 47-6 after South Africa declared their first innings on 525-8 on day two of the second Test on Saturday, leaving the rattled tourists sliding toward another embarrassing defeat.
After three South African batsmen made centuries, Dale Steyn roared in to remove Martin Guptill and Kane Williamson inside five overs, Rory Kleinveldt dismissed Dean Brownlie and Daniel Flynn, and spinner Robin Peterson had two wickets in two balls at the end of an utterly dominant second day for the top-ranked Proteas.
New Zealand limped to stumps still 478 runs behind after being 39-6 on another humbling day following their 45 all out in a crushing loss in the first Test.
“We knew what we were going to be confronted with,” New Zealand coach Mike Hesson said. “The most disappointing thing was that when we got under pressure we weren’t able to cope.”
South Africa’s batsmen were equally dominant at St. George’s Park, with Graeme Smith and A.B. de Villiers making half-centuries on the first day before hundreds from Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis and Dean Elgar.
Du Plessis hit 137 for his second Test century and Elgar was 103 not out for his maiden hundred — adding to Amla’s 110 — as South Africa declared soon after tea. The Proteas built partnerships of 91, 86, 113 and 131 through their formidable first innings.
Steyn’s furious early spell gave him 2-14 while Kleinveldt, who was called in after an injury to Vernon Philander, had 2-18.
Peterson took 2-2, removing captain Brendon McCullum and debutant Colin Munro first ball as the tourists crumbled against pace and spin.
New Zealand’s best partnership was 19 in the 24 destructive overs from the South African bowlers at the end of the day.
“We did everything right so it’s very close to a perfect day,” Du Plessis said.
South Africa already leads the two-match series 1-0 against the No. 8-ranked Black Caps and was powering toward another victory and a fifth straight series win less than halfway through the Test.
The struggling Kiwis were facing four losses and a draw in their last five series, but the manner of New Zealand’s recent failures was ramping up the pressure on Hesson, who was already under fire back home for choosing to replace former captain Ross Taylor with McCullum as skipper.
“I think we all share the load, to be honest,” Hesson said. “This Test match and the last Test match we haven’t been up to it. South Africa is a very tough place to tour. They’re the world’s No. 1 side for a reason. At the moment we’re ranked eighth in the world for a reason. We’re struggling. The players are trying their very best and they’re being outclassed.”
“The guys know we’re nowhere near where we need to be,” Hesson said.