Tim Southee and Colin de Grandhomme grabbed a wicket each to reduce South Africa to 24 for two in response to New Zealand’s 268 at the close of the first day’s play of the second test at the Basin Reserve on Thursday.

Southee had Stephen Cook caught at second slip by Jimmy Neesham for three before de Grandhomme, a surprising choice to share the new ball, had Dean Elgar also snapped up by the same fielder for nine to reduce the Proteas to 12 for two.

Nightwatchman Kagiso Rabada was on eight with Hashim Amla yet to score at the close after the hosts had earlier been bolstered by Henry Nicholls’ maiden test century of 118.

Nicholls combined for 116 runs with BJ Watling (34) for the sixth wicket after the hosts had been reduced to 21 for three in the 11th over and then 73 for four at lunch.

Nicholls combined with opener Jeet Raval for 52 after New Zealand struggled after being asked to bat by Faf du Plessis. He brought up his milestone when he hooked a Rabada delivery to the mid-wicket fence.

The 25-year-old, who chopped a delivery onto his stumps on 98 against Bangladesh in January, raised his arms in the air before the ball crossed the rope for his 12th boundary.

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