After being swept at home by Pakistan towards the end of 2021, it felt like a low moment for Bangladesh cricket.

Since then, they have beaten reigning world champions New Zealand in a Test match for the first time before getting the better of South Africa in a three-match ODI series, in both cases as tourists.

All of a sudden, confidence is flowing for the Tigers ahead of a two-Test series against South Africa, especially with the fact that the hosts will be missing several key players thanks to IPL commitments, including pretty much their entire bowling attack.

Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Marco Jansen, Anrich Nortje, Aiden Markram and Rassie van der Dussen will all be unavailable, meaning captain Dean Elgar will broadly be reliant on the likes of Temba Bavuma, Keshav Maharaj and a selection of significantly less experienced players.

Bavuma is one away from becoming the 24th player to reach 50 men's Tests for South Africa; his Test batting average against Bangladesh (54.3) is his best against any team.

Speaking earlier in the week, Elgar said: "We have to make do with our next best that we have in the country, who I'm still very confident in.

"Yes, we've lost a few Test caps along the way not having the IPL players with us, but it's a great opportunity for those guys to stand up and put those other players under pressure. I'm confident they can do that."

The tourists will also be missing a key figure in Shakib al Hasan, who has gone home for personal reasons, but other than that are due to be close to full strength for the first Test in Durban on Thursday.

Whether they can repeat their famous win in Mount Maunganui remains to be seen but given the circumstances, you would forgive them for any optimism.

Home troubles for Proteas

While they will enjoy home advantage, South Africa will note they have won only one of their last nine men's Tests at Kingsmead (D1, L7), which was a 10-wicket victory against India in December 2013.

That being said, they do enjoy an excellent record against this opposition, being undefeated in 12 men's Tests against the Tigers (W10, D2).

Bangladesh are also one of only two teams who the Proteas are yet to lose against in the format (W8, D1 v Zimbabwe).

Can Tamim continue Test form?

To illustrate recent improvement, Bangladesh have won two of their last three men's Tests away from home (L1), as many as they won in their 26 touring matches in the format prior (W2, D2, L22).

Tamim Iqbal is one away from becoming the second player to record 10 centuries in men's Tests for Bangladesh, after captain Mominul Haque (11). He has scored 50+ in four of his last five Test innings.

Didier Deschamps says those who jeered Jonathan Clauss on his full debut are not true supporters and their opinion therefore does not count.

Clauss was handed a first start for Les Blues in Tuesday's 5-0 friendly win against South Africa, four days after earning his maiden cap as a late substitute against Ivory Coast.

However, the occasion – and indeed France's emphatic victory – was somewhat overshadowed by the reaction Clauss received from a section of his country's own fans.

The 28-year-old was targeted at Stade Pierre-Mauroy, the home of club side Lens' fierce rivals Lille, and Deschamps has praised the full-back for the way he handled the boos.

"I wanted to make him as comfortable as possible, so I find it regrettable to say the least what happened," he said at his post-match news conference.

"It goes against what the France team is, but it didn't stop him from bouncing back. Those who foolishly protested with whistles, it was faded by what he was doing on the pitch."

Asked if the jeers call into question France's decision to stage friendlies away from the Stade de France, Deschamps said: "No, I don't think so.

"But the fact we're talking about it, even if it was only a few people, encourages them to do it. It must be a non-subject – there's no place for it in a stadium.

"There is a rivalry between clubs, which I understand, but here we are with the France team. 

"I ask them to do everything possible to unite the team. The other people are not supporters; they don't matter."

Clauss can be pleased with his display, having intercepted the ball more times than anyone (five), while only Adrien Rabiot won possession more often (14 compared to seven).

In an attacking sense, meanwhile, only Olivier Giroud (eight) and Kylian Mbappe (20) had more touches in the opposition box than the defender's five, level with Lucas Digne.

"He has a lot of dynamism and is able to defend," Deschamps added. "I told him not to play with the handbrake today."

Mbappe scored twice in France's routine victory and assisted Matteo Guendouzi's first international goal late on after Khuliso Mudau had been sent off for the visitors.

In doing so, Mbappe became the first player to net in five successive France matches since Karim Benzema did so between November 2013 and June 2014.

The Paris Saint-Germain striker is 25 goals short of Thierry Henry's record of 51 for France, but Deschamps insists his side are not a one-man team.

"It's not Kylian and the others, but Kylian with the others – that's important.

"His legs were on fire today. His ability to score and accelerate places him among the world's most outstanding players."

Wissam Ben Yedder was also on target for France, as was Olivier Giroud with his 48th international goal, moving him within touching distance of Henry's all-time record.

Giroud will be 36 by the time the 2022 World Cup comes around in November and Deschamps could not offer any guarantees over his long-term future in the squad.

"I've had discussions with him, as I have with many players," Deschamps said. "I don't know about the future and neither does he.

"But when he's here, he has the ability to score. His profile is well known – he's a support striker. He has this sense of the goal and is important for us even without scoring."

Kylian Mbappe says he is targeting Thierry Henry's France goalscoring record after scoring twice in Tuesday's 5-0 friendly thrashing of South Africa.

Mbappe was in fine form as the world champions dispatched the Bafana Bafana in Lille, bending home a superb opening goal on 23 minutes before winning and converting a 75th-minute penalty. 

With his first goal of the contest, Mbappe became the first player to net in five successive France matches (a total of nine goals) since Karim Benzema did so between November 2013 and June 2014 (he posted seven strikes).

The 23-year-old also added an assist during a fantastic display, teeing up Matteo Guendouzi for his first France goal at the death, meaning he also became the first player in the 21st century to record an assist in five consecutive games for Les Blues.

Speaking to TF1 in the immediate aftermath of France's dominant win, Mbappe, who remains 25 goals short of the Arsenal legend's tally of 51 international strikes after his double, predicted he will draw level with Henry sooner than anticipated.

"Of course [the record is a target]," Mbappe said. "Of course, I've always wanted to be the first everywhere, in the French national team [as well] as in the club. 

"There is still a long way to go. What Titi did, no one else has done. [But] I think I can get there much faster than you think."

The pacey forward, who has been the subject of intense transfer speculation ahead of the expiration of his PSG contract this summer, also became the second-highest goalscorer in PSG history earlier this month, surpassing Zlatan Ibrahimovic's 156 goals for the club in a Champions League defeat to Real Madrid.

On the international front, meanwhile, he is not the only striker within Didier Deschamps' setup with Henry's record in his sights. 

Olivier Giroud's first-half goal put Les Blues 2-0 up against South Africa, and the former Chelsea and Arsenal man is almost certain to beat Mbappe to the landmark, requiring just three more goals to draw level with Henry after his 48th France strike.

Kylian Mbappe's double helped France to a 5-0 win over South Africa in Lille, with Olivier Giroud, Wissam Ben Yedder and Matteo Guendouzi also netting during a dominant display from Didier Deschamps' team.

Mbappe bent home a stunning opener before Giroud doubled France's advantage after 33 minutes, with the Milan striker moving to within three goals of his country's all-time goalscoring record with his composed finish.

Paris Saint-Germain star Mbappe won and converted a 76th-minute penalty and Ben Yedder poked home a fourth with nine minutes remaining.

South Africa finished the game with ten men after Khuliso Mudau's late dismissal, with Guendouzi joining the scoring late on as the world champions recorded a seventh consecutive win.

Giroud met Lucas Digne's fifth-minute cross with a firm header to force a strong save from Ronwen Williams, before Mbappe miscued a right-footed finish from 12 yards out after being picked out by the full-back.

But the PSG striker opened the scoring in spectacular fashion on 23 minutes, retrieving Antoine Griezmann's cross before bending a stunning strike into the top-right corner from the edge of the area.

Les Blues needed just 10 more minutes to double their lead, with Griezmann again turning provider when he fed Giroud, who rounded Williams to roll home his 48th international goal. 

Williams made strong near-post saves from both Giroud and Mbappe as France continued to dominate after the break, before the impressive Digne crashed a fine volley against the upright on the hour.

Mbappe marked a starring performance with another goal with a quarter of an hour remaining, drawing a foul from Siyanda Xulu with a terrific burst into the penalty area before rolling the spot-kick into the bottom-right corner.

There was still time for Ben Yedder to add some gloss to the scoreline when he prodded over the line from Paul Pogba's header, before Mudau capped a terrible night for South Africa by seeing red for an awful challenge on Adrien Rabiot.

But Les Blues were not done yet, adding a fifth when Guendouzi bent home his first international goal after latching onto Mbappe's pass.

Raphael Varane will feel "great pride" in captaining France when they face South Africa on Tuesday in Les Bleus' final game of the March international break.

The Manchester United defender has been handed the armband for the friendly clash at Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Lille, the 28-year-old's hometown, with regular skipper Hugo Lloris sitting the game out.

Didier Deschamps' side are looking to continue their preparations for the Qatar 2022 World Cup at the end of the year, as they eye a successful defence of their 2018 crown.

With regular captain Lloris set to be benched in favour of Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan, Varane said it would be an honour to lead out his country in his home city.

"It is a great pride," he said. "I grew up not far from here. I was born in Lille, I grew up between Lille and Lens. 

"Of course, it's a bit special."

Varane also commented upon the selection of Maignan, who has kept 11 Serie A clean sheets in an impressive debut campaign with the Rossoneri, praising the 26-year-old's leadership and character.

"He brings great explosiveness," Varane said of Maignan. "He has a great kicking game, he brings his character, he is a leader at heart.

"He keeps progressing and continues to evolve. He has a lot of talent."

The former Real Madrid defender spoke in glowing terms about Clauss' qualities, saying that his inclusion in the squad brought "a lot of joy".

"He brings a lot of freshness," Varane added. "I did my best to welcome him, to put him at ease.

"He is living an exceptional moment, and it brings a lot of joy.

"If he is there [in the France squad], he has the qualities. The desire is there, [and] he has some very interesting qualities."

Deschamps' side will be looking to maintain their excellent attacking form when they host South Africa, having scored in each of their last 19 games, the longest such run in the history of the national team.

Didier Deschamps has confirmed that Kylian Mbappe will return when France take on South Africa in Lille on Tuesday.

Mbappe missed Les Bleus' 2-1 victory against the Ivory Coast on Friday as a precaution with an ENT infection, where a late Aurelien Tchouameni goal sealed the friendly win.

However, without specifying whether it would be from the start or the bench, Deschamps has said the Paris Saint-Germain star will be back in contention for the next encounter.

When asked about Mbappe, Deschamps told Telefoot: "He is much better, he will be there on Tuesday."

The 23-year-old has 24 goals in 53 caps for France, but could face competition in the form of Christopher Nkunku, who made his international debut in Friday's win in Marseille.

The RB Leipzig forward has been in sensational form for the Bundesliga club this season, scoring 26 goals in 39 games across all competitions.

"[My debut] was an exceptional moment for me," he told reporters. "It was a committed match against a technical and physical team. I am a French international and I hope to be so for as long as possible."

Meanwhile Lens full-back Jonathan Clauss, who also made his senior international bow after being called up for the first time at the age of 29, hopes to be in contention for a place in Deschamps' World Cup squad later this year.

"We are all competitors, we all want to play extraordinary competitions, otherwise we wouldn't be here," he added. "We must not put the cart before the horse. 

"I have to keep performing if I want to be part of this group for the World Cup. I don't make that decision, but I'll make sure to do my best."

The West Indies Women are in the semi-finals of the 2022 ICC Women's World Cup after Lady Luck worked in their favour on Saturday night.

The West Indies Women, on seven points from their seven games, following no-result against South Africa on Wednesday, March 23, needed either Bangladesh to defeat England or South Africa to defeat India for them to advance.

England crushed Bangladesh by 100 runs earlier Saturday, which meant that the West Indies Women were dependent on a positive result from the South Africa versus India encounter.

The situation looked grim when India posted 274-7 in their 50 overs thanks to half centuries of 71 from Smriti Mandhana, 53 from Shafali Verma, 68 from Captain Mithali Raj as well as Harmanpreet Kaur's 48.

However, Laura Woolvardt smashed 80, Laura Goodall scored 49 and Mignon du Preez an unbeaten 52 as South Africa scored 275-7, the winning run coming off the last ball of the match.

The South African victory set off wild celebrations among the West Indies Women, whose members had gathered to watch the match.

They will now face unbeaten Australia in the semi-final on Tuesday.

Bangladesh cruised to a nine-wicket victory in Wednesday's third ODI at SuperSport Park to claim a first-ever series victory in South Africa.

South Africa levelled up the series last week, ending Bangladesh's four-game winning streak on the road in ODIs, but the tourists responded in style at Centurion.

Taskin Ahmed took five wickets to restrict the hosts to 154 all out and skipper Tamim Iqbal's unbeaten 87 ensured Bangladesh got the job done in 26.3 overs.

The Proteas, who had won nine of their 10 ODI matches against Bangladesh prior to this series, got off to a promising start and reached 46-0 but then lost all their wickets for just 108 further runs.

Openers Janneman Malan (39) and Quinton de Kock (12) raced to 46 off 40 deliveries, but the latter's resistance was halted by Mehidy Hasan Miraz.

Taskin got the wickets of Malan, Kyle Verreynne (9), David Miller (16), Dwaine Pretorius (20) and Kagiso Rabada (4) to finish with figures of 5-35 from nine overs.

Shakib Al Hasan also took two wickets, including the scalp of Temba Bavuma for just two, with Malan's knock proving to be the highest scoring for the home side.

Tamim set the tone in Bangladesh's chase with a 127-run opening stand with Litton Das (48), who fell just short of a half-century when he chipped Keshav Maharaj to extra cover

There was no stopping Tamim, though, as he remained unbeaten on 87 alongside Shakib (18no) to help Bangladesh ease to 156-1 and claim a famous victory.
 

Proteas taken to task

Taskin led the way for Bangladesh with a superb spell of fast bowling on his way to claiming a second five-wicket haul in ODIs.

His figures of 5-35 are the best of any bowler this series, as are the eight wickets he claimed, followed by six each for Rabada and Hasan.
 

Bangladesh on top of the world

With this routine victory, Bangladesh become only the second nation to win their first two men's ODIs at SuperSport Park after Pakistan.

The Tigers stay top of the World Cup Super League table as a result with 120 points from 18 matches, while South Africa are down in ninth on 49 points from 13 contests.

South Africa batter Zubayr Hamza has agreed a voluntary suspension after testing positive for a banned substance.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) revealed the 26-year-old had tested positive for Furosemide, which is not a performance-enhancing drug, on January 17.

Zubayr has since played for the Proteas against New Zealand in the first Test in Christchurch last month.

CSA said in a statement on Wednesday: "Cricket South Africa (CSA), the South African Cricketers’ Association (SACA) and Western Province Cricket Association (WPCA) today announced that Proteas player, Zubayr Hamza has tested positive for a prohibited substance under the International Cricket Council (ICC) anti-doping code. The positive test followed an ICC anti-doping test on the 17 January 2022.

"Zubayr is not disputing the positive test, is co-operating fully with the ICC, and has agreed to a voluntary suspension commencing immediately whilst written submissions are presented to the ICC.

"The positive test relates to the substance Furosemide, which is not a performance enhancing substance, and Zubayr has been able to identify how the substance entered his system.

"The process to follow will entail presenting evidence that there was no fault or negligence, or no significant fault or negligence on the part of Zubayr.

"CSA, SACA and WPCA are supporting Zubayr in this process, and will continue to do so until the matter is concluded."

Bangladesh strolled to a historic first victory in South Africa in the first of three ODIs at Centurion.

The tourists set their opponents a target of 315 thanks to three players making half-centuries, but South Africa never really looked like reaching it as they were beaten by 38 runs.

Openers Tamim Iqbal (41) and Litton Das (50) gave Bangladesh a strong start from which to build their innings with a partnership of 95.

Andile Phehlukwayo (1-63) finally made a breakthrough in the 22nd over, before Litton Das was dismissed by Keshav Maharaj (2-56) an over after reaching his half-century

After Mushfiqur Rahim (nine) had hit a Maharaj delivery high in the air for David Miller to catch, the next big partnership came from Shakib Al Hasan, who hit a dazzling 77, and Yasir Ali (50), who added 115 before the former was trapped leg before wicket to Lungi Ngidi (1-75).

Yasir was out soon after, but Mahmudullah (25), Afif Hossain (17) and Mehidy Hasan Miraz (19 not out) helped Bangladesh reach 314-7 from 50 overs.

South Africa's reply started badly when Janneman Malan edged a Shoriful Islam delivery through to Mushfiqur, though major damage came in the ninth over as Kyle Verreynne (21) and Aiden Markram (0) both fell to Taskin Ahmed.

Temba Bavuma and Rassie van der Dussen did well to rebuild the innings, putting on 85 together before the Proteas' skipper clipped one from Shoriful to Mushfiqur on 31.

Taskin took the key wicket of Van der Dussen, who played it straight to Yasir 14 runs short of his century.

Miller gave his all with a resilient 79 that included three sixes, but the spin of Mehidy (4-61) cleaned up the tail as the Proteas slumped to 276 all out.

Shakib shows his class

The world number one ranked all-rounder was at his best with the bat here, plundering 77 from 64 balls as he added significant gleam to the hard work put in by the openers.

Shakib hit 10 boundaries, with seven fours and three sixes as he achieved his best ODI score against South Africa in 15 matches, and his highest score of 2022 so far.

Taskin clinical

Mehidy took more wickets but it was Taskin who initially kept the hosts down. His figures of 3-36 from his 10 overs meant that by the time Mehidy was taking late wickets, the job was more or less done.

Like Shakib, this was also Taskin's best ODI performance against the Proteas, albeit only from four meetings.

South Africa captain Temba Bavuma has warned of the dangers of complacency as the Proteas tackle Bangladesh in a significant ODI series.

The three games in six days could have a major bearing on whether South Africa ease into the Cricket World Cup, or whether they have to go to the subsequent qualifying competition next year.

Series defeats to Sri Lanka and Pakistan, plus a draw with Ireland and an abandoned series against the Netherlands, have left the Proteas down in 10th position in the Cricket World Cup Super League after 10 games.

Bangladesh have played 15 games so far, winning 10 of those, and sit top of the table, just ahead of England, with India in third place.

South Africa have won all nine of their previous men's ODIs at home against Bangladesh, so they head into this series as firm favourites. A 3-0 ODI series win away to India in January showed their prowess, albeit that did not count towards World Cup qualification.

Bavuma said ahead of Friday's SuperSport Park opener: "We must make sure that we get ourselves in the right mental space. One of the things we have spoken about from a mental point of view is that coming up against a side like India generally it is easier for the guys to get themselves up.

"With Bangladesh, we can't afford to underestimate them in any way from a mental and intensity point of view and there can't be any sense of complacency."

Fitness concerns mean South Africa have not selected all-rounder Sisanda Magala. He is not injured and has performed strongly with the ball for the Lions in recent days, but South Africa do not see him being in the right physical shape to play international cricket.

Bavuma is a Lions club-mate of Magala but indicated the ruthless decision was one that he supported.

Speaking in a news conference on Friday, Bavuma said: "With Magala, he knows he can only point the finger back at himself and obviously as a captain I am disappointed that I don't have him at my disposal – but I think he can accept that it is his own doing."

The South Africa captain added, according to Times Live: "I play with the guy at the Lions, I have a good relationship with the fitness trainer and the communication that I have had is that there is a lot more good he is doing to try to improve his fitness. Unfortunately, at this time he is not at the eligible fitness level."

Bangladesh bidding to bounce back

Bangladesh suffered a seven-wicket loss to Afghanistan in their last ODI, bringing an end to a five-game winning streak in the format. It would be a statement result if they pulled off a win in any of their three games in South Africa, even though the Proteas have lost four of their last six completed men's ODIs in Centurion, including their last two. The Proteas have never lost more than two consecutive games in their 43 all-time fixtures at the venue.

Hosts go all out

A number of South Africa's big names will miss the Test series that follows the ODIs, as they head to the IPL, but the hosts will be fielding their strongest possible side in these limited-overs games. South Africa have scored an average of 300 runs per innings when batting first in men's ODIs since the beginning of 2021, the most of any team to have batted first more than once in that period and 53 runs more than Bangladesh (247).

South Africa will field a severely depleted side in the Test series against Bangladesh after a group of star players put the Indian Premier League above national duty.

Captain Dean Elgar had appealed for loyalty from team-mates earlier this month, as they faced a big decision on whether to play in the two Tests or join up with their IPL sides after the ODI series with Bangladesh.

Elgar said at the time: "The players need to give Cricket South Africa an indication of if they are keen to go to the IPL or if they are keen to play for the Test side. It's a bit of a tough one putting that in the players' box but... this is where you see where players' loyalty lies."

With lucrative IPL deals in place, those signed up for duty in that competition have elected to fulfil their commitments in that regard, with the tournament getting under way on March 26 in Mumbai.

It means South Africa will be without pace bowling stars Lungi Ngidi, Kagiso Rabada and Marco Jansen for the Tests, plus batsmen Rassie van der Dussen and Aiden Markram.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) could not stand in the way of players putting the IPL first, under an agreement with the South African Cricketers' Association, and have had to delve deeper into their playing pool to produce a squad to face the touring Bangladesh side.

There were call-ups on Thursday for the likes of Khaya Zondo, Daryn Dupavillon and Lizaad Williams, who could make Test debuts.

CSA convenor of selectors Victor Mpitsang said: "The loss of the IPL players is not ideal, but we back the CSA system, its ever-growing pipeline and most of all, the players we have selected.

"Every member of the team is selected based on the excellence that they have shown over an extended period of time. There is no better opportunity for them than now, to show us what they have to offer the Proteas on this highly anticipated occasion."

The first Test begins at Kingsmead on March 31, with the second game starting on April 8 at St George's Park. A three-match ODI series between full-strength South Africa and Bangladesh teams gets under way on Friday.

South Africa squad: Dean Elgar (captain), Temba Bavuma, Daryn Dupavillon, Sarel Erwee, Simon Harmer, Keshav Maharaj, Wiaan Mulder, Duanne Olivier, Keegan Petersen, Ryan Rickelton, Lutho Sipamla, Glenton Stuurman, Kyle Verreynne, Lizaad Williams, Khaya Zondo.

South Africa need six wickets on the final day for victory after Kyle Verreynne's maiden Test century left New Zealand needing to pull off a record run chase in the second Test.

New Zealand will resume on day five at 94-4, trailing by 332 runs after the Proteas declared at 354-9, setting the Black Caps an improbable target of 426 to win.

If the Proteas manage to clinch victory, it will deny New Zealand their first-ever Test series victory over South Africa after dominating the first Test at the same venue, Hagley Oval, last week.

New Zealand faced 42 overs after Dean Elgar's declaration late in the middle session, with Kagiso Rabada adding two more wickets to his first-innings five-wicket haul, while Keshav Maharaj also claimed two dismissals.

Verreynne was crucial to South Africa establishing complete dominance having resumed on day four at 5-140, with an overall lead of 211 runs.

The South African wicketkeeper-batsman was the perennial figure as the Proteas added 214 runs to their overnight score, with handy contributions from Wiann Mulder (35) and Kagiso Rabada (47), whose knock came from 34 balls and was a career high with the bat.

Verreynne and Rabada combined for a 78-run eighth-wicket stand which took the life out of New Zealand, who had hoped for a final-innings target no greater than 300.

Shortly after Rabada was dismissed, Verreynne brought up his maiden Test century swiping a length ball wide of fine leg.

Verreynne finished unbeaten on 136, with Tim Southee, Matt Henry, Kyle Jamieson and Neil Wagner all claiming two wickets each.

Tasked with a record run chase, New Zealand's pursuit started disastrously with Rabada dismissing Will Young and Tom Latham in the first and third overs. New Zealand were soon 25-3 when Maharaj - who sent down 16 overs in a row - bowled Henry Nicholls.

Devon Conway (60*) and Daryl Mitchell steadied the innings but Maharaj dismissed the latter for 24 late in the day.

Record run chase required

South Africa's declaration left New Zealand needing an unlikely 426 to win, which exceeds the current fourth-innings world record chase of 418 by West Indies against Australia in St John's in 2003. With the Black Caps four down, that is unlikely to be threatened.

Verreynne firming as worthy de Kock's successor

Verreynne's opportunity in the Proteas line-up has come following Quinton de Kock's premature retirement and he is beginning to prove he is the future for South Africa after only six Tests.

South Africa needs six wickets on the final day for victory after Kyle Verreynne's maiden Test century left New Zealand needing to pull off a record run chase in the second Test.

New Zealand will resume on day five at 94-4, trailing by 332 runs after the Proteas declared at 354-9, setting the Black Caps an improbable target of 426 to win.

If the Proteas manage to clinch victory, it will deny New Zealand their first-ever Test series victory over South Africa after dominating the first Test at the same venue, Hagley Oval, last week.

New Zealand faced 42 overs after Dean Elgar's declaration late in the middle session, with Kagiso Rabada adding two more wickets to his first-innings five-wicket haul, while Keshav Maharaj also claimed two dismissals.

Verreynne was crucial to South Africa establishing complete dominance having resumed on day four at 5-140, with an overall lead of 211 runs.

The South African wicketkeeper-batsman was the perennial figure as the Proteas added 214 runs to their overnight score, with handy contributions from Wiann Mulder (35) and Kagiso Rabada (47), whose knock came from 34 balls and was a career high with the bat.

Verreynne and Rabada combined for a 78-run eighth-wicket stand which took the life out of New Zealand, who had hoped for a final-innings target no greater than 300.

Shortly after Rabada was dismissed, Verreynne brought up his maiden Test century swiping a length ball wide of fine leg.

Verreynne finished unbeaten on 136*, with Tim Southee, Matt Henry, Kyle Jamieson and Neil Wagner all claiming two wickets each.

Tasked with a record run chase, New Zealand's pursuit started disastrously with Rabada dismissing Will Young and Tom Latham in the first and third overs. New Zealand were soon 25-3 when Maharaj  - who sent down 16 overs in a row - bowled Henry Nicholls.

Devon Conway (60*) and Daryl Mitchell steadied the innings but Maharaj dismissed the latter for 24 late in the day.

Record run chase required

South Africa's declaration left New Zealand needing an unlikely 426 to win, which exceeds the current fourth-innings world record chase of 418 by the West Indies against Australia in St John's in 2003. With the Black Caps four down, that is unlikely to be threatened.

Verreynne firming as worthy de Kock's successor

Verreynne's opportunity in the Proteas line-up has come following Quinton de Kock's premature retirement and he is beginning to prove he is the future for South Africa after only six Tests.

New Zealand rallied led by Colin de Grandhomme's century but South Africa remain well placed with a 211-run lead after three days of the second Test at Christchurch's Hagley Oval.

The Proteas reached stumps at 140-5 with Kyle Verreyne (22*) and Wiaan Mulder (10*) at the crease after securing a 71-run first-innings advantage having bowled out the hosts for 293 led by Kagiso Rabada's five-wicket haul

New Zealand had resumed trailing by more than 200 runs with five wickets in hand, but de Grandhomme's 133-run sixth-wicket stand with Daryl Mitchell narrowed the deficit.

De Grandhomme remained unbeaten 120*, notching up his second Test century prior to lunch, after Mitchell was trapped lbw by Keshav Maharaj for 60.

Rabada (5-60) and Marco Jansen (4-98), who had employed a short-ball plan, finished off the Black Caps' resistance in the second session despite Neil Wagner's aggressive 21 from 18 balls that included three fours and a six.

New Zealand offered hope with three early breakthroughs, reducing South Africa to 38-3 with Tim Southee (2-28) dismissing both openers.

Southee trapped first-innings centurion Sarel Erwee lbw for 8 in the third over with an inswinger which the opener reviewed without success.

Tom Blundell pulled off a brilliant one-handed catch in the 11th over as Southee drew an edge from Dean Elgar bowling around the wicket.

Rassie van der Dussen steadied South Africa's innings with 45 before being caught and bowled by workhorse Wagner (2-44) who also took Temba Bavuma's wicket in the final session during a tireless spell.

Verreyne and Mulder took the Proteas' lead past 200, although New Zealand will remain hopeful of claiming the final five wickets promptly on day four and chasing a target below 300.

Black Caps remain hopeful

New Zealand are incredibly chasing their first-ever Test series victory over South Africa and would have been confident of achieving that after a dominant first Test triumph.

The Proteas are in control but de Grandhomme suggested there was hope within the camp. He said: "I think it's in the balance, they're a bit ahead, but if we can get a few quick wickets tomorrow, we can be back in it."

Rabada claims 11th Test five-fa

Rabada wrapped up the New Zealand batting innings with wickets from successive deliveries, utilizing the short ball for both dismissals.

The pair of wickets earned 26-year-old Rabada his 11th Test five-wicket haul but he is likely to have more work to do, ahead of the Black Caps' final-innings chase.

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