After being drubbed for two days, New Zealand kept out hope for a second Test victory on Sunday, when they dropped South Africa to 140 for five at stumps on third day in Christchurch.
After scoring 364 in their first innings and batting New Zealand out for 293, it gave the South African team a 211-run advantage with five wickets remaining.
South Africa controlled the opening two days, but New Zealand recovered on Sunday after being rescued from 91 for five by a 133-run partnership between Colin de Grandhomme and Daryl Mitchell on the tame surface.
De Grandhomme and Daryl Mitchell carried on a 133-run sixth-wicket stand to save New Zealand’s innings when they were 91-5 late on the second day. He hit a half-century off 56 balls before sunsets on Saturday, then went on to 90 during the first session on Sunday, then endured 47 tense minutes in the 90s before hitting his century.
Kagiso Rabada grabbed the final two wickets of the innings with successive balls to finish with 5-60, his 11th five-wicket haul.
Ferocious Black Caps paceman Neil Wagner had Rassie van der Dussen caught and bowled for 45 and Temba Bavuma caught in close for 23, but South Africa held on to be 140 for five at stumps in its second innings.