NZ finish the day on 311/6
The New Zealanders finished the day on 311 for the loss of six wickets against the South African Invitation XI in their three-day non-first-class match in Paarl on Friday.
It was a perfect day for cricket in the Boland. The temperature stayed in the bearable range while a gentle breeze kept the players cool.
The New Zealanders would have been thoroughly satisfied to see all of their top seven batsmen play useful innings, although only Kane Williamson and captain Brendon McCullum passed the fifty mark.
Although Daniel Flynn played some stylish shots, his 23 was the lowest score on the day and he was the only batsman not to spend at least an hour at the crease.
McCullum won the toss and chose to bat first on a good batting wicket. Despite there being more than a tinge of green on the pitch, it was to play low and slow without offering much at all to the bowlers.
The Invitation side was made up of players from the provincial amateur teams, all still far from being household names, but the batsmen enjoyed the opportunity to have a decent knock under bright African skies.
Martin Guptill and Peter Fulton looked set to bat out the opening session until the latter played a loose shot to be caught in the covers, while Guptill's innings ended on 42 when he clipped the ball off his toes to a fielder at short midwicket - after being dropped playing the same shot in the previous over.
Only one wicket fell in the second session. Although McCullum did play the odd big shot, carting left-arm spinner Siya Simetu over the midwicket boundary, he and Williamson were content in the main to play the ball into the gaps and accumulate the runs.
Williamson was adjudged caught behind on 59 as an attempted sweep came off the glove.The Black Caps thought it had come off his elbow, but the video indicated it had indeed hit the glove.
McCullum could have been caught shortly after reaching his 50, but was still at the crease with Flynn at tea.
The final session was to see 99 runs added for the loss of three more wickets.
Flynn played some attractive shots before slicing a catch to Shaun Liebisch in the covers, and McCullum eventually went, trapped in front to a ball which skidded on to him and went under the bat as he went on the pull. Both were victims of occasional offspinner Colin Ackermann.
McCullum's 65 was the top score of the day, compiled off 126 balls with five fours and a six. He showed considerably more patience than is normally the case with him in the limited-overs formats.
BJ Watling and James Franklin batted out the rest of the day, using up 114 balls to reach the 50 partnership mark.
Franklin was bowled trying to steer a ball to third man in the final over of the day, being dismissed for 37. Watling will resume on 32, made off 86 balls, should the tourists decide to continue batting into the second day.
Ackermann ended with three wickets for 46, but will not be able to celebrate a career best performance. With the tourists wanting to give more than just eleven players a run in this game, the match will not enjoy first-class status.
Liebisch bowled economically, taking one for 19 in 11 overs, but did not bowl during the final session. Petrus Jeftha and Matthew Kleinveldt each took a wicket.
The Boland authorities are planning to make a jamboree day of Saturday, with mini-cricket, a market and various attractions for young and old. Hopefully the Boland faithful, of whom about a thousand were in attendance on day one, will come out in force to add some colour to the proceedings.
SA INVITATION XI: Matthew Kleinveldt, Hendrik van der Dussen, Colin Ackermann, Piet van Biljon (capt), Uwe Birkenstock, Keegan Petersen, Bradley Barnes, Steven Liebisch, Petrus Jeftha, Siya Simetu, Travis Muller and Gino Vries.
NEW ZEALANDERS: Peter Fulton, Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson, Brendon McCullum (capt), Daniel Flynn, BJ Watling, James Franklin, Neil Wagner, Bruce Martin, Jeetan Patel, Travis Boult, Chris Martin and Dean Brownlie.