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Mills grabs his chance as SA struggle

New Zealand opening bowler Kyle Mills took four for 43 as South Africa finished the first day's play at 266/8.

india Updated: Apr 15, 2006 20:33 IST

New Zealand opening bowler Kyle Mills took four wickets as South Africa struggled on the first day of the first Test against New Zealand at Centurion Park.

South Africa were 266 for 8 at stumps. The tall Mills, who owed his selection to a knee injury suffered by fast bowler Shane Bond, took four for 43.

Mills, 27, playing in his sixth Test, struck an early blow when he bowled the out-of-form Herschelle Gibbs for six in the fifth over of the match.

He followed up with the wickets of Boeta Dippenaar and Ashwell Prince after lunch as South Africa failed to capitalise on a second wicket stand of 79 between Dippenaar and South African captain Graeme Smith.

Smith missed the third and final Test against Australia earlier this month after injuring his left ring finger.

He felt pain after batting in the nets in the two days leading up to the match but decided after testing the injury again this morning that he was fit enough to play.

He made 45, his highest score in six Tests this season, before he was leg before wicket to left-armer James Franklin in the third over after lunch.

After losing all three home Tests against Australia, South Africa reshuffled their batting order, dropping middle order batsman Jacques Rudolph and restoring Gibbs as an opener after more than a year in the middle order or at number three.

Dippenaar batted at number three and AB de Villiers dropped down the order after opening against Australia.

Dippenaar made a solid 52 but two balls after reaching his half-century he tamely pulled a short ball from Mills to Peter Fulton at midwicket.

Gibbs again showed a lack of footwork as he failed to get behind a lifting delivery from Mills and was bowled off an inside edge. It was the ninth time in 13 Test innings this season that Gibbs had been bowled.

Primarily regarded as a one-day international player, Mills used his height to get steep bounce from a slow surface which made strokeplay difficult.

He went to tea with his best Test figures, slightly better than the three for 29 he took against the West Indies in Wellington last month - again playing in place of Bond, who was ill.

New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming and South Africans Shaun Pollock and Jacques Kallis were playing in their 100th Test. Kallis played one of his Tests for the World XI against Australia last October.