NEW ZEALAND have stumbled to their worst Test score in more than 50 years as South Africa rolled them for 45 on the first day of the first Test at Newlands in Cape Town.
And to compound the Black Caps’ humiliation, by stumps the Proteas were 3-252 and in total control as they look set to wrap up the one-sided contest within three days.
New Zealand couldn’t even last until lunch, crumbling in 19.2 overs as Vernon Philander ripped through the top order with a superb display of seam bowling.
He took 5-7 in his opening six overs, with Morne Morkel picking up 3-14 and Dale Steyn 2-18 to dispose of the Black Caps’ shattered remains.
Only Kane Williamson could manage double figures, lasting barely half an hour and 19 balls for his 13 after captain Brendon McCullum, in his first Test in charge, won the toss and opted to bat.
It was the worst batting effort by a New Zealand team since March 1946, when Australia rolled them for 42 in Wellington, and stands as the Kiwis’ third worst total ever after a world-beating all-time low of 26 against England in 1955.
Just 14 months ago, on the same Newlands pitch, Australia managed a paltry 47 in 18 overs in a Test they lost by eight wickets.
The New Zealand bowlers tasted only limited success, Doug Bracewell removing South African captain Graeme Smith for one with his opening ball to have the home team 1-1.
But from then on, it was hard work for little reward. Alviro Petersen racked up his fifth Test century, finishing the day unbeaten on 103 with AB de Villiers on 19.
For New Zealand, James Franklin trapped the prolific Hashim Amla in front for 66 two balls into the 26th over, and Jacques Kallis was on 60 when he edged Trent Boult to wicketkeeper BJ Watling.
The weakened Black Caps were rank outsiders for the match, ranked eighth in the world and without injured bowlers Daniel Vettori and Tim Southee.
Former skipper Ross Taylor made himself unavailable for this tour after being stripped of the captaincy, and classy batsman Jesse Ryder was also not available.