PITCH TEAMS UP WITH THE PACEMEN

"I love winning Tests," said Smith. "It's also nice to win a series again. I think a 2-0 victory is pretty convincing."

After an inert pitch in Newlands, the Wanderers strip had a little too much life resulting in most batsmen producing blink-and-miss performances, especially in the first innings, which featured seven ducks. A wobbly-kneed South Africa just about managed to squeeze out a win and clinch the series 2-0.

Makhaya Ntini was the wrecker-in-chief, picking up five wickets in the first innings. The Kiwis found it difficult to contend with the Ntini-Dale Steyn dual attack on a dream wicket for fast bowlers that aided movement both ways.

"For me as a frontliner I've been given the opportunity with the new ball to lead upfront. It has been one of the things that has given me motivation to show a youngster like Dale Steyn how it's done when you are given an opportunity," said Ntini, who was named man-of-the-series. Nathan Astle was in no mood for lavish praise, crediting the pitch instead. "I hope I'm not putting any of the South African bowlers down, but I don't think they knew which way it was going either," he said.

South Africa would have slipped the Kiwi way if it weren't for half-centuries by Man of the Match Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla. Smith, who had earlier expressed frustration at his batting, couldn't have found a better situation to end a 15 innings drought where he failed to score a half-century.

His knocks showed the control he had over the situation, especially his authority over the pull-shot. Amla continued his wristy comeback into the team, with his four 4s off a James Franklin over, being the highlight of a classy half-century.

Though not a fruitful match for Jacques Kallis, he will remember the Test for his entry into the elite 8000 runs and 200 wickets club, joining Garry Sobers, after he picked up Stephen Fleming's wicket in the second innings.

The Kiwi quicks didn't exploit the conditions fully, barring Chris Martin, whose accuracy fetched him five wickets. Vettori's rub of the offside green made sure that the Proteas were forced to chase a dicey target.

"I love winning Tests," said Smith. "It's also nice to win a series again. I think a 2-0 victory is pretty convincing and we're very proud of a lot that has gone on in this Test series," he added.

Third Test, Johannesburg, May 5 to 7. South Africa won the match by four wickets and the series 2-0. Man of the Match: G. C. Smith. Player of the Series: M. Ntini.

New Zealand _ 1st innings: M. H. W. Papps b Ntini 0; J. M. How c De Villiers b Steyn 0; S. P. Fleming c Boucher b Ntini 46; S. B. Styris c De Villiers b Ntini 0; N. J. Astle c Kallis b Steyn 20; J. D. P. Oram b Pollock 18; B. B. McCullum c & b Ntini 0; D. L. Vettori lbw b Steyn 2; J. E. C. Franklin c Boucher b Hall 19; K. D. Mills (not out) 0; C. S. Martin c Smith b Ntini 1; Extras (lb-9, w-1, nb-3) 13;Total 119.

Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-0, 3-2, 4- 57, 5-78, 6-78, 7-82, 8-118, 9-118.

South Africa bowling: Ntini 16-7-35-5; Steyn 12-3-43-3; Hall 9-2-21-1; Pollock 7-2-11-1.

South Africa _ 1st innings: G. C. Smith c McCullum b Franklin 63; H. H. Dippenaar b Martin 0; H. M. Amla c Papps b Styris 56; J. H. Kallis b Martin 9; A. G. Prince c McCullum b Martin 4; A. B. De Villiers c Styris b Franklin 2; M. V. Boucher lbw b Franklin 0; S. M. Pollock (not out) 32; A. J. Hall lbw b Martin 5; D. W. Steyn b Martin 2; M. Ntini c McCullum b Mills 8; Extras (nb-5) 5; Total 186.

Fall of wickets: 1-1, 2-99, 3-131, 4- 131, 5-139, 6-139, 7-139, 8-145, 9-161.

New Zealand bowling: Martin 15- 2-37-5; Franklin 13-2-87-3; Oram 4-0- 20-0; Mills 8-0-30-1; Astle 2-0-11-0; Styris 2-1-1-1.

New Zealand _ 2nd innings: M. H. W. Papps c Hall b Kallis 15; J. M. How lbw b Steyn 4; S. P. Fleming c De Villiers b Kallis 37; S. B. Styris c & b Steyn 42; N. J. Astle c Boucher b Steyn 45; J. D. P. Oram c Dippenaar b Steyn 27; B. B. McCullum c Boucher b Pollock 5; D. L. Vettori c De Villiers b Hall 60; J. E. C. Franklin b Pollock 19; K. D. Mills (not out) 0; C. S. Martin c Amla b Hall 0; Extras (b-5, lb-17, w-3, nb-4) 29; Total 283.

Fall of wickets: 1-9, 2-40, 3-82, 4-158, 5-177, 6-190, 7-239, 8-283, 9- 283.

South Africa bowling: Steyn 22-3-91-4; Ntini 17-4-44-0; Kallis 14-1-40-2; Hall 12.5-1-50-2; Pollock 13-3-36-2.

South Africa _ 2nd innings: G. C. Smith c McCullum b Franklin 68; H. H. Dippenaar c McCullum b Martin 37; H. M. Amla b Mills 28; J. H. Kallis c How b Mills 13; A. G. Prince (not out) 43; A. B. De Villiers b Franklin 5; M. V. Boucher b Franklin 6; S. M. Pollock (not out) 6; Extras(b-4, lb-5, w-2, nb-3) 14; Total 220.

Fall of wickets: 1-69, 2-130, 3-156,4-167, 5-180, 6-202.

New Zealand bowling: Martin 17-1-64-1; Franklin 13.3-0-67-3; Mills 11-3-49-2; Oram 2-0-8-0; Styris 3-0-12-0;Vettori 1-0-11-0.

A Special Correspondent