Half-tons lift Kiwis

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The Independent Online

Half-centuries from Scott Styris and Brendan McCullum helped New Zealand to 361 for seven at stumps on the third day of the first Test against South Africa in Hamilton.

Half-centuries from Scott Styris and Brendan McCullum helped New Zealand to 361 for seven at stumps on the third day of the first Test against South Africa in Hamilton.

After the early loss of Michael Papps, Styris anchored the New Zealand innings - reaching his third Test 50 en route - before McCullum and then Jacob Oram took up the challenge.

By the end of the day the Black Caps were trailing the Proteas' first-innings 459 by 98 runs, with Oram 49 not out and Daniel Vettori unbeaten on 21.

There was drama before start of play when the South Africans insisted unnecessary overnight match repairs - loose patches of turf glued together - should be returned to their original state.

New Zealand, on 102 for two overnight, were made to work hard - and Papps added just nine runs to his overnight score before he was trapped lbw by Jacques Kallis.

Styris, who hit 10 boundaries during a controlled innings of 74, formed two important partnerships with Craig McMillan and Chris Cairns to help the Kiwis' quest to avoid the follow-on.

McMillan lasted 75 balls before he became Kallis' second lbw victim of the day, having added 45 runs with Styris.

That left New Zealand on 172 for four, but Cairns and Styris added another 51 before South Africa struck twice in quick succession with the second new ball.

Styris was first to go when Shaun Pollock cut one back between bat and pad, and then Cairns gloved a ball from Makhaya Ntini to wicketkeeper Mark Boucher.

McCullum and Oram took up the challenge until the wicketkeeper-batsman edged Kallis behind to Boucher to end an 84-run seventh-wicket stand.

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