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Black Caps bowlers to keep plugging away

NZN 25/03/2017 Angelo Risso

An under-strength Black Caps speed attack has passed its first examination in the side's third-Test decider against South Africa.

But the small hurdle of skipper Faf du Plessis still stands in the way of a Proteas first-innings skittling at Seddon Park on Sunday.

South Africa head into the second day of Test action at 123-4, with Temba Bavuma and du Plessis standing guard on 13 and 33 not out respectively.

With incumbent seamers Tim Southee and Trent Boult crocked for the Hamilton showdown, Matt Henry and surprise pick Colin de Grandhomme were entrusted with the new ball and immediately snared two Proteas wickets for just five runs.

Henry picked up 2-25 in his first Test hit-out since November, while swinging all-rounder de Grandhomme secured figures of 2-43.

Henry, who pinched the wicket of JP Duminy, felt the typically spin-friendly Seddon Park wicket was unexpectedly quick at full length.

Steady rain is forecast for both Sunday and Monday, putting days two and three at risk as Henry's Kiwis look to rein in a 1-0 series deficit.

"It's a great opportunity with two guys down to really make sure we pass on the baton and all do our jobs," Henry told reporters.

The choice of de Grandhomme as an opening bowler raised eyebrows around Seddon Park but the Zimbabwe-born 30-year-old hit a consistent length and was rewarded with the key wicket of Hashim Amla for 50.

His proficiency with the red ball came as no surprise to Henry, who labelled de Grandhomme a high-quality seamer, or even to first-drop Amla.

"He's got good skill - I mean if you look at someone like Vernon (Philander) who may not be very quick, but he's extremely effective," the 33-year-old said.

"It almost feels like they've gone a similar route."

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