Cairns puts New Zealand in control

Agence France Presse

Auckland, March 20:

A Chris Cairns batting blitz put New Zealand firmly in command of the second cricket Test against South Africa here Sunday, as the powerful all-rounder cracked a boundary-filled 158 runs.

His magnificent innings, which included more than 100 runs in one session of play, led New Zealand to 584 for eight at stumps, a lead of 288 runs with two days remaining.

In a day of records, Cairns and Jacob Oram set an all-time record New Zealand seventh wicket partnership of 225, while Scott Styris with 170, set the highest Test score by a New Zealander against South Africa.

Styris was at the crease for more than five hours and faced 220 balls, while the big-hitting Cairns plundered 18 fours and seven sixes in his innings of 171 balls in a New Zealand batting spree that saw 387 runs scored in the day.

His rollicking innings saw Cairns attack to Shaun Pollock and Jacques Kallis with the second new ball, taking 16 off one Pollock over as his first 40 came off 24 balls, and he reached his 21st Test 50 off 41 balls.

In the after tea session, Cairns pounded 105 runs until his dismissal about 15 minutes before stumps. He fell mistiming an attempt to drive Graeme Smith over the boundary and was caught in the deep by Kallis.

Supporting Cairns and Styris were Jacob Oram, who was bowled by Makhaya Ntini on 90 and Craig McMillan who fell to Shaun Pollock for 82.