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Du Plessis holds South Africa fort on tough batting day

Faf du Plessis scored an unbeaten 50
Faf du Plessis scored an unbeaten 50

South Africa 308 & 224-6 (Elgar 89) v
New Zealand 341 (Williamson 130)
First Test, Dunedin, day four

Late strikes from New Zealand restricted South Africa to 224 for six before bad light brought a premature end to the day as the Proteas stretched their lead 191 runs with four wickets in hand at stumps on day four.

South Africa resumed the day at 38 for one, having a slender five-run win. After a testing spell from Neil Wagner (2-57) and Trent Boult (1-34), South Africa scored their first run in the 16th delivery.

Wagner provided the initial breakthrough for New Zealand when he had Hashim Amla (24) caught at short midwicket and soon the play was halted briefly for bad light.

On resumption, JP Duminy (39) used a review to overturn the on-field decision for caught behind and overs later he was dropped by Tom Latham in the slips as well.

In the 40th over, Duminy survived a review from New Zealand for LBW and New Zealand continued to remain sloppy in the field when Dean Elgar (89) was dropped by wicket-keeper BJ Watling. South Africa ended the first session at 100 for two, having a lead of 67 runs.

The 74-run stand for the second wicket ended after Wagner trapped Duminy LBW in the 49th over. Even a review from South Africa could not save Duminy this time.

Elgar brought his second score of 50+ in the game after he was dropped by Colin de Grandhomme in the 54th over and the lead slowly went past the 100-run mark in the 61st over. South Africa went into tea at 157 for three, scoring at just over two runs per over.

Faf du Plessis (56 not out) looked assertive in the final session and had a 80-run stand for the fourth wicket with Elgar. Just when South Africa looked in control, the New Zealand spinners turned the game on its head picking three wickets in quick succession.

Jeetan Patel (2-72) accounted for Elgar and Quinton de Kock (4) while Mitchell Santner (1-37) castled Temba Bavuma (6) to keep the Proteas down to 224 for six with du Plessis remaining unbeaten on 56 at the other end.

By 6:30pm local time, the light deteriorated allowing no further play possible and 95 overs has been scheduled on the final day to arrive at a result.

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