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Bond floors Proteas

Johannesburg: Four wickets by express bowler Shane Bond earned New Zealand the upper hand on the first day of the first Test against South Africa on Thursday.

New Zealand reached the close on 41 for two after dismissing South Africa, who won the toss and chose to bat, for 226. Bond took four for 73 in helpful overhead conditions that were partially negated by a sluggish pitch.

Medium-pacer Chris Martin, who had two catches dropped, supported Bond well and took three for 67.

South African opener Herschelle Gibbs was fifth out for a steadying 63.

The hosts got off to the worst possible start when skipper Graeme Smith attempted to leave a delivery from Martin in the second over and was bowled off the edge of his bat for one.

Hashim Amla scored 12 before Bond had him caught behind by wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum with a delivery that bounced steeply and straightened after pitching.

Both of Martin’s dropped catches were offered shortly before lunch by Jacques Kallis, who was spilled on 23 by Michael Papps at third slip and on 27 by Iain ’Brien at fine-leg.

The errors did not prove costly as Kallis drove at the first delivery after lunch, which was bowled by medium-pacer ’Brien, and was caught behind by wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum for 29.

South Africa were reduced to 141 for five an hour before tea when Gibbs was caught by Fleming, this time at first slip.

AB de Villiers stood firm for 33 while Mark Boucher nursed South Africa past 200 and was ninth out for 43.

New Zealand lost their openers in the first 12 overs. Paceman Makhaya Ntini had Michael Papps caught by De Villiers at third slip for one before fast bowler Dale Steyn trapped Craig Cumming in front for 12.

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