CAPE TOWN, Jan 4 (Reuters) - Dean Brownlie struck a six to reach his maiden test century on Friday as New Zealand reduced the deficit with South Africa to 70 with five second innings remaining at lunch on the third day of the first test.
Brownlie fell shortly before the interval for 109 after a fighting innings which helped restore some self-respect to the New Zealand team after they had been skittled for 45 before lunch on the opening day.
At the interval the visitors were 232 for five with wicketkeeper BJ Watling, who batted through the morning session, on 31.
South Africa, the world number one side, opened with Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander hoping to make early inroads and the duo applied the pressure with some disciplined bowling.
However, Brownlie and Watling, who started the day on 69 and 10 respectively, were up to the challenge and guided the Black Caps to 201 for four by the drinks break.
Brownlie brought up the 50 partnership with a drive for two off Steyn, which also moved him into the 90s. The 28-year-old wasted little time reaching his century, emphatically dispatched Peterson for two sixes in the space of two overs and raised his bat to a warm ovation.
The Proteas, who dropped Brownlie twice on Thursday when he was on 23, were still unable to break through and elected to take the second new ball with just two overs remaining before lunch.
The decision proved to be an inspired one as the stubborn resistance of Brownlie came to an end when he cut a wide Morne Morkel delivery straight to Robin Peterson on the point boundary.