NZ 137-2 at stumps, chasing 401 to win 1st Test against SA

Jacques Rudolph

Brendon McCullum made a defiant half century in an unbroken 82-run partnership with Ross Taylor to lead New Zealand to 137-2 at stumps on the fourth day of the first cricket test Saturday.

Jacques Rudolph earlier made an unbeaten 105 to become the third century-maker in South Africa's second innings before it declared at 435-5 midway through the second session, leaving New Zealand 401 to win with a day and a half remaining.

New Zealand stumbled to 55-2 with the loss of openers Martin Guptill (6) and Rob Nicol (19), but McCullum (58 not out) and Taylor (48 not out) stuck together for 98 minutes before stumps, hastened by bad light, with the hosts still trailing by 263 runs.

"It's a good start, still a lot of work to do tomorrow but it's a really good start,'' New Zealand assistant coach Trent Woodhill said. "We fought hard all day today. Tomorrow we need 264 off about 100 overs, I reckon, so it's a good day's play.

"We feel really confident and hopefully this partnership continues tomorrow morning and we can get another one started straight after that.''

Earlier Jacques Kallis, who had resumed at 106 not out with South Africa 268 for three and already leading by 233, added only seven runs to his total before he was out for 113 in the ninth over of the day.

Rudolph, who was 13 not out at the resumption and the subordinate partner in a 36-run stand with Kallis, then took charge of the innings and allowed captain Graeme Smith to make an assertive declaration with 45 overs still to bowl before stumps.

The left-handed Rudolph built on the foundation laid by Kallis and Smith (115) in their 200-run partnership on the second day which all but played New Zealand out of the match. That dominating stand made the partnership between McCullum and Taylor an effort to save the match more than win it.

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