Rookie opener Sarel Erwee responded to a challenge levelled by his captain with a maiden century as South Africa shrugged off a nightmare first Test against New Zealand to dominate day one of the second Test on a green-tinged wicket at Hagley Oval on Friday.
Having crashed to their second-worst defeat in Tests in the series-opener, Erwee’s 108 helped South Africa to 238-3 at stumps and gave it insulation against a setback late in the day when Erwee and Aiden Markram’s (42) wickets fell within the space of three balls. Temba Bavuma was 22 not out at stumps and Rassie van der Dussen 13.
Proteas captain Dean Elgar threw down the challenge to his fellow batsmen when he chose to bat on winning the toss on the same ground on which the tourists were dismissed for 95 and 111 in losing the first Test loss by an innings and 276 runs.
Anchored by Erwee’s 108 and an 111-run opening stand with Elgar (41), South Africa’s day one total eclipsed their two innings combined in last week’s opener at the same ground.
Lefthander Erwee managed only 10 runs on debut in that match but the late-blooming 32-year-old rebounded superbly in a 221-ball knock.
Elgar’s decision to bat appeared brave as Tim Southee and the New Zealand seamers found life in the pitch early. But the captain and Erwee negotiated a nervous first hour and then settled into a groove, keeping their wickets intact to put 80 runs on the board by lunch.—Agencies