Hamilton: New Zealand closed out day two in a state similar to their position the previous evening, struggling to compete with an opponent they had dominated in passages of play, but allowed to charge back emphatically in others. That the hosts are not yet doomed is thanks to Mark Gillespie, who at 32 and after three years in the wilderness was a vexing selection for Hamilton, but produced a staggering burst of pace, movement and luck to decimate South Africa's middle order and finish with 5 for 59. But AB de Villiers' 83, a cameo from Morne Morkel, and Vernon Philander's now vicious routine to New Zealand's top order undid all of Gillespie's work, and left the hosts with four second-innings wickets down, still trailing by three, and a daunting climb to prevent their second successive loss inside three days at Seddon Park.
New Zealand had had South Africa reeling at 88 for 6 in reply to their own 185, but could not maintain the intensity, as de Villiers shepherded the lower order with an effortless innings that made the chaos that came before seem outlandish. The ease of his progress betrayed the flatness of the surface that had browned considerably - the tawny pitch appeared unrecognisable from the green tinged surface that had been unveiled on day one. de Villiers made 63 with Mark Boucher for the seventh wicket, before continuing the recovery alongside Philander and Morkel - the latter took charge following de Villers' ill-fortuned demise to add a further 34 with last man Imran Tahir, giving the visitors a 68-run head start in the second dig. The last four wickets had cost New Zealand 165.