New Zealand fightback on day two in South Africa delights bowler Chris Martin

Last Updated: 04/01/13 9:16am

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Chris Martin:  A much-improved day for New Zealand

Chris Martin: A much-improved day for New Zealand

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New Zealand bowler Chris Martin praised his team's spirit after recovering from a miserable start to the first Test against South Africa.

The Black Caps were skittled out for 45 - the lowest Test score in almost 39 years - but hit back to end day two on 169-4 in their second innings, still 133 short of avoiding an innings defeat.

Brendon McCullum (51) and Dean Brownlie (unbeaten 69) impressed at the crease and paceman Martin said: "Compared to yesterday, it was immense.

"The way we turned up with the ball was much better. We were more consistent and we dried up the runs which brought the five wickets. That set the tone for the way our batters went out and put up a much sterner fight."

Martin, who bagged three wickets on Thursday, insisted harsh words had not been necessary to fire up the players after the first day debacle.

"They were quite reasoned, quite straightforward. The best way to deal with it was shown by the way they applied themselves today."

South Africa remain dominant in Cape Town having declared on 347-8, but Alviro Petersen, who only added three runs at the start of the day before being bowled for 106, was upset at his team's inability to seize full control.

"The bowling wasn't up to scratch, the catching wasn't up to scratch. For that hour or so it was not the standard we set ourselves," he said.

"I said after the first day it was like a day three or day four wicket. I don't know if it was over-prepared. From a batting point of view you had to be disciplined."

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