South Africa 104-6 at lunch on day 2, 2nd test vs. NZ

New Zealand's Tim Southee celebrates after dismissing South Africa's Kagiso Rabada during the second cricket test at the Basin Reserve, Wellington, New Zealand, Friday, March 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Ross Setford, SNPA)

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) First innings century-maker Henry Nicholls held two catches at mid-wicket Friday as New Zealand claimed four South African wickets before lunch on the second day of the second cricket test.

Nicholls, who posted his maiden test century in New Zealand’s first innings of 268, caught J.P. Duminy (16) and Hashim Amla (23) to help send the Proteas to lunch at 104-6.

South Africa had resumed its first innings Friday at 24-2 after losing openers Stephen Cook (3) and Dean Elgar (9) in the seven overs New Zealand bowled before stumps on the first day. It quickly lost nightwatchman Kagiso Rabada (9) before Duminy fell to Neil Wagner for the fifth time this summer, and Amla’s form slump continued with his dismissal by Colin de Grandhomme.

De Grandhomme then struck another vital blow when he dismissed Proteas captain Faf du Plessis for 22 immediately before lunch.

South Africa still had hope of at least reaching New Zealand’s total with Temba Bavuma 15 not out and wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock 2. New Zealand had been 21-3 and 101-5 in its first innings and it only took an innings such as Nicholls’ to set the foundation for a competitive score.

Nicholls has been at the heart of the action throughout the match. He came to the crease when New Zealand was in trouble at 21-3 on Thursday and formed parnterships with Jeet Raval (36) and B.J. Watling (34) which helped it reach 268 in 78 overs. His two catches on the on-side today helped shift momentum further New Zealand’s way.

Tim Southee had first dismissed Rabada in the second over of the morning with a ball which swung in, hit the nightwatchman’s pads and went on to hit leg stump.

Amla and Duminy, both battling form slumps, seemed to have put in the hard work necessary to build big innings before falling to careless shots.

Duminy had scored his 16 runs from 21 balls when he tried to flick a ball from Wagner over the on-side field and managed only to pick out Nicholls who took a comfortable catch at midwicket.

Amla fell to a similar misjudgement when New Zealand captain Kane Williamson brought de Grandomme back into the attack. This time Nicholls made tougher work of the catch, spilling his first attempt but clasping the ball at his second try as he fell to the ground.

De Grandhomme then removed du Plessis with a ball that seamed back fractionally, took the inside edge of the bat and carried low to wicketkeeper Watling.