Matt Henry feeling 'pretty surreal' after emulating New Zealand great Richard Hadlee

Fast bowler picks up 7-23 to dismiss South Africa for 95 on opening day of first Test

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New Zealand celebrated another record Test match bowling figures as pacer Matt Henry made a memorable return to red-ball cricket with a seven-wicket haul.

Henry's picked up 7-23 to dismiss South Africa for just 95 on the opening day of the first Test at the Hagley Oval on Thursday, matching Kiwi great Richard Hadlee in the process.

It was a remarkable spell by Henry who was playing his first Test in eight months only because Trent Boult is away on paternity leave.

Only spinner Ajaz Patel (10-119) and Hadlee (9-52) have returned better Test figures for New Zealand. Hadlee, who was present at the ground, had also claimed 7-23 against India in 1976.

"You've got to kind of pinch yourself a little bit when you hear those stats and to be able to share that with Sir Richard Hadlee is pretty special," Henry said. "It was a pretty surreal moment really."

World Test champions New Zealand reached 116-3 by stumps and will be eyeing a massive lead.

The right-arm quick said his knowledge of the venue came in handy.

"I think just playing here at Hagley and having that experience and knowing what my lengths were and how to operate (helped).

"As a bowling group, I think we bowled really well together and we were able to create pressure at both ends and not really let them go anywhere, which is probably key to how we got the wickets."

Hagley Oval, with its grass-tinged wicket, was tailor-made for New Zealand's seam attack. With the 10th ball of the match, Henry started the rout when he had Dean Elgar caught at third slip with a ball that nipped away.

Henry was a master in familiar conditions. He moved the ball away late from Aiden Markram and it took a thick outside edge before carrying to wicketkeeper Tom Blundell. Having twice been reprieved by the DRS which upheld the umpire’s not out decisions in his favor, Markram again tried to use it to his advantage. He reviewed but replays showed a clear edge.

The slide continued and after 49.2 overs South Africa were all out for their lowest ever score against New Zealand. Six of Henry's victims were caught behind the wicket and one was lbw.

New Zealand faced 39 overs in the final session, losing Will Young for eight when he edged a rising delivery from Marco Jansen to wicketkeeper Kyle Verreynne.

Updated: February 17, 2022, 12:05 PM
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