CAPE TOWN, South Africa - Alviro Petersen, Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis bullied New Zealand with the bat after Vernon Philander destroyed the tourists with the ball to give South Africa a 207-run lead after a lopsided opening day of their test series at Newlands on Wednesday.
Petersen was 103 not out and Amla (66) and Kallis (60) both made half-centuries to take the top-ranked Proteas to 252-3 at stumps and a firm hold on the first match and the series with only three sessions played.
South Africa undoubtedly owned all of those sessions, starting when Philander took 5-7 in six overs to rip the heart out of New Zealand's batting and send them to 45 all out, and ending late in the day with Petersen's fifth test century.
In between, South Africa fast bowler Dale Steyn (2-18) became the equal third quickest bowler to reach 300 test wickets and Kallis just the fourth batsman to 13,000 test runs as the home team racked up milestones and achievements and looked on course for a fifth straight series win.
"Obviously it's nice to get the recognition," Kallis said after joining Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting and Rahul Dravid past 13,000 runs. "Especially when you're playing in a team that's starting to put some special results together."
The beleaguered Black Caps were left to face inevitable questions over the gulf in class between them and the best test team in the world.
"Everyone's bitterly disappointed," New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum said, calling the atmosphere in the tourists' dressing room "sombre."
"Everyone is hurting immensely. The real challenge for us here is to be able to turn up tomorrow. Today was just a really poor day."
New Zealand was bowled out in less than 20 overs for its third lowest test total, the 12th lowest ever and the lowest at the Cape Town venue in over 100 years.
"It obviously happened quite quickly. We bowled the ball in the right areas. I'll take that," Philander said after South Africa needed just its three front-line quick bowlers to knock over the New Zealanders. "It's beautiful," Philander added. "The quicker the better, hey?"
The touring team then flagged as a bowling unit as South Africa piled on the runs after a brief stumble, when Graeme Smith was out in the second over of South Africa's reply. Ranked No. 8 in tests and above only Bangladesh, New Zealand was already facing a seventh defeat in its past 10 tests. South Africa hasn't lost a series in four years.
Unsettled by the exit of former captain Ross Taylor and missing crucial experience, New Zealand's start to five-day cricket under new skipper McCullum took only 10 overs to unravel as Philander's unerring line and length reduced it to 27-5, with the right-arm seamer needing just 25 balls and one spell to register one of the quickest five-wicket hauls in tests.
Morne Morkel (3-14) and spearhead Steyn added pace and aggression as New Zealand slumped to its lowest total in over 66 years since crashing to 42 all out against Australia in 1946.
"I went through a pretty tough initiation," McCullum said. "We've got a monumental job to pull ourselves out of this and salvage something."
Amla stroked nine fours in his 66 from 74 balls, Kallis moved serenely to a 57th career half-century and Petersen was unbeaten on a century to underline New Zealand's dismal batting effort.
There was enough in the Newlands pitch to suggest batting might be a little tricky early on, but nothing to justify New Zealand's spectacular collapse after McCullum won the toss and opted to bat — the last real say New Zealand had on the first day of the two-test series, which had already been viewed as a mismatch.
Philander only just passed a fitness test on a troublesome hamstring but single-handedly removed the top half of New Zealand's batting lineup to go to 72 wickets in just his 13th test. It was his eighth five-wicket haul.
Only Kane Williamson (13) made it to double figures. Martin Guptill was first out for 1 in the second over, caught behind off Philander's sixth ball. McCullum followed shortly after when he was bowled by the rampant right-arm seamer for 7.
Dean Brownlie, in for former skipper Taylor, was out for a duck when he edged to Smith at first slip off another Philander outswinger. Williamson hit two of just five boundaries for the Black Caps in the entire innings before he fell lbw to Philander.
Philander had his five wickets in 4.1 overs when BJ Watling edged behind tamely to wicketkeeper AB de Villiers for a duck. Morkel saw off James Franklin and also benefited from a superb diving catch from Amla at mid-off for Jeetan Patel's wicket.
Steyn went to 300 test wickets in typical fast bowler style, roaring in to smash Doug Bracewell's off stump out of the ground and then soaking up a standing ovation from a sold-out Newlands.
He was the fourth South African to 300 wickets after Allan Donald, Shaun Pollock and Makhaya Ntini, and matched the 61 tests it took Richard Hadlee and Malcolm Marshall to get to 300. Only Dennis Lillee (56 tests) and Muttiah Muralitharan (58) were quicker to 300. Shane Warne took 63 tests.
Petersen shared 100-run stands with both Amla and Kallis to anchor South Africa's reply and hit 11 fours and a six in his unbeaten hundred. Amla got carried away, shuffling across his stumps to be out lbw to Franklin but South Africa was already building a significant lead.
Kallis followed Dravid, Ponting and the incomparable Tendulkar past 13,000 career runs with a push down to third man for four at his home ground before he was out for 60 to an edge behind to wicketkeeper Watling off Trent Boult — a wicket the Black Caps hardly celebrated.
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