Dunedin: South Africa skipper Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis combined for a timely 128-run unbroken partnership as the tourists consolidated their second innings and reached 175 for two at tea on the third day of the first Test against New Zealand on Friday.   

Smith (80 not out) and Kallis (66 not out) had come together with their side on 47 for two and with just a 12-run lead after Doug Bracewell had taken two wickets in one over before lunch to give the hosts hopes of pushing for an upset victory.   

The experienced duo, however, had been conservative to take their team to 88 for two at lunch, then built after the break to extend their lead to 140 runs.   

New Zealand were buoyed before lunch when Bracewell had dismissed Alviro Petersen (25) and Hashim Amla (two) in the same over to leave South Africa struggling.   

Momentum looked to be swinging the hosts' way after Trent Boult's cameo of 33 not out gave them a 35-run first innings lead.   

Smith and Kallis, however, appeared well set to bat New Zealand out of the match with their leg-spinner Imran Tahir likely to be a factor in the final innings.   

There was some good news for the hosts in the session with top-order batsman Brendon McCullum returning to the ground after he left before lunch for checks on his chest after he was injured diving for the ball.   

South Africa need to sweep the series 3-0 to take over the world number one test ranking from England.

(Agencies)