WELLINGTON (AFP) - South Africa had the scent of victory after another batting and bowling masterclass left New Zealand in dire straits at 26-2 at lunch on the final day of the third Test on Tuesday.
New Zealand's hopes of getting anywhere near the target of 389 appeared remote as their brittle batting again crumbled in the face of a withering South African pace attack.
Martin Guptill was not out 14 with Kane Williamson on seven at lunch after the quick dismissals of Daniel Flynn and Brendon McCullum, both without scoring, had New Zealand at two down for one run in the fifth over.
With a minimum 66 overs remaining in the day and New Zealand already down a specialist batsman with injured captain Ross Taylor out of the game, Guptill and Williamson were in a battle for survival rather than chasing down a total.
South Africa resumed the day at 75 without loss and cracked on a further 114 at more than seven an over before declaring at 189-3.
They tripped up in their rush for runs on the fourth ball of the morning when Alviro Petersen went for a single that was never on and found himself run out for 39.
Graeme Smith survived an lbw appeal from Chris Martin, although the television replay favoured the bowler, but it was a short-lived respite for the South Africa skipper who fell to a spectacular catch soon after.
Smith was on 41 when he flicked Vettori to mid-wicket where Doug Bracewell dived to his right to grasp the ball one handed.
AB de Villiers had a rollicking time with the bat racing to 68 off 68 deliveries, including eight fours and a six, before he was dismissed by Bracewell.
The departure of de Villiers ended the innings leaving JP Duminy unbeaten on 33 off 23 balls including three sixes and two fours.
Meanwhile, New Zealand captain Ross Taylor who suffered a broken forearm when hit by Morkel on the fourth day, was to undergo surgery Tuesday and the New Zealand management said he would be sidelined for at least four weeks.