THE SECOND Test petered out into the dullest of draws yesterday on another rain affected-day.
South Africa declared their first innings at their overnight score which gave them a lead of 274 and in the three and a half hours play after lunch New Zealand made 126 for 1.
Whatever the South Africans had done, they would probably have been beaten by the weather, but it was still unaccountably defensive of Hansie Cronje not to have declared soon after the start on Sunday.
If New Zealand had been three or four wickets down overnight it would have been harder to hang on. As it was, Matt Horne and Brian Young put on 107 for the first wicket without any difficulty against an attack which was without Allan Donald because of a torn stomach muscle. This was the first three-figure opening partnership for New Zealand since Craig Spearman and Roger Twose put on 214 against Zimbabwe in Auckland in 1995/96.
The first two Tests in this series have ended in boring draws and the teams meet again on Thursday in the third at the Basin Reserve in Wellington where, by all accounts, the pitch will be more likely to produce a result. But, even without Donald, it is impossible to see South Africa being beaten.
Fifth day; New Zealand won toss
NEW ZEALAND - First innings 168 (S M Pollock 4-34).
SOUTH AFRICA - First innings 442 for 1 dec (H H Gibbs 211no, J H Kallis 148no, G Kirsten 65).
NEW ZEALAND - Second innings
B A Young not out 55
M J Horne run out 56
R G Twose not out 6
Extras (lb5 nb5) 10
Total (for 1, 54 overs) 127
Did not bat: N J Astle, G R Stead, C Z Harris, A C Parore, *D J Nash, D L Vettori, S B Doull, G I Allott.
Bowling: Pollock 12-4-23-0 (nb5); Klusener 17-4-33-0; Adams 15-0-52- 0; Kallis 6-2-13-0; Cronje 4-3-1-0.
Umpires: K T Francis (Sri Lanka) and D M Quested (NZ).