Dunedin: Skipper Kane Williamson led New Zealand's fightback with a defiant half century as the hosts reached 177/3 in response to South Africa's first innings total of 308, at stumps on the second day of the opening cricket Test at the University Oval here on Thursday.
Williamson was not out on 78 with Jeetan Patel, the nightwatchman, on nine as the Kiwis found themselves in a comfortable position despite losing veteran batsman Ross Taylor with a calf injury.
Taylor was on eight when he had to go off the field. He had earlier been pinged on the helmet by Morne Morkel, who looked in good fettle in conceding 26 runs from 10 overs in what is his comeback Test after a serious back injury.
Earlier, New Zealand wrapped up the South African first innings five overs after lunch, with the last six wickets falling for just 56 runs. It was a rapid end to an innings after Dean Elgar, with a Test-best 140, had his team well placed at 252/4 at one stage.
Resuming at the overnight score of 229/4, Neil Wagner sent back Elgar to end a 104-run stand with Temba Bavuma (64) as the visitors started losing wickets in a heap.
In response, South Africa removed opener Tom Latham early, caught behind off Philander for 10 before Williamson and Jeet Raval lifted the innings with a 102-run stand, before Raval went for 52.
Brief Scores: South Africa: 1st innings 308 (Dean Elgar 140, Temba Bavuma 64, Faf du Plessis 52, Trent Boult 4/64, Neil Wagner 3/88) vs New Zealand: 1st innings 177/3 (Kane Williamson 78 not out, Jeet Raval 52, Keshav Maharaj 2/57)