WELLINGTON, March 26 (Reuters) - Quinton de Kock was well set on 66 as he took South Africa to 243 for seven at lunch on the second day of the third test against New Zealand at Seddon Park in Hamilton on Sunday.
De Kock, who recorded his ninth test half century, scored his runs quickly in the extended opening session, with Keshav Maharaj on five as South Africa’s tail again proved tough to remove in support of the aggressive wicketkeeper.
Play started 30 minutes early after rain washed out all but 41 overs of the opening day on Saturday.
The visitors resumed on 123 for four with captain Faf du Plessis on 33 and Temba Bavuma on 13.
Neither appeared overly troubled in overcast conditions and brought up their 50-run partnership before Bavuma attempted to hook a slow, short Matt Henry delivery on 29 and only succeeded in getting a nick to first slip Jeet Raval.
Du Plessis also fell just after reaching his 12th test half century.
The skipper set himself up for a lap sweep against left arm-spinner Mitchell Santner but Tom Latham, fielding at forward short leg, moved swiftly to his right and plucked the ball out of the air to leave du Plessis scratching his head as he walked off for 53.
Latham was again to the fore when he took a low catch at second slip to dismiss Vernon Philander for 11 and give Henry his fourth wicket.
Henry was unlucky to not have his first five-wicket haul in tests on the next ball when Maharaj got a nick but the ball fell just short of Raval.
Rain is forecast for the Hamilton area throughout the test, which New Zealand must win to level the series after South Africa won the second game in Wellington by eight wickets.
The first test in Dunedin ended in a draw with the entire final day washed out. (Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Peter Rutherford)