James Ihaka is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

That's as bad as it gets - former test star's verdict on the Black Caps

An inept batting display that ended the New Zealand cricketers' first innings before lunch on the first day of their Newlands test match "would probably go down as one of the worst performances in our history", says former wicketkeeper Adam Parore.

Rolled by the rampant South African pace trio of Vernon Philander, Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn for a miserable 45 runs, the New Zealanders' total was the third-lowest in the country's test cricket history.

In terms of New Zealand cricket horror stories this was the stuff of nightmares. Senior Herald sportswriter David Leggat called the Newlands capitulation the worst performance he'd seen in more than three decades covering the sport.

The bad dream could be a recurring one because NZ still have to bat in their second innings.

"It's pretty hard to get yourself that far out of the game that quickly," Parore said.

"It's also very difficult to knock a side over for 45. I often remember having sides at six or seven down for about that but, time after time, there would be someone who would get a partnership together.

"So it's credit to the South Africans that they really put the foot on the throat and knocked them over as quickly as they did."

He said New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum's decision to bat first was not a good one and a more conservative approach should have been taken.

"While I appreciate the sentiment of trying to be aggressive and make a bit of a statement, when you are bowled out for 45 it's pretty hard to justify that wasn't the wrong decision ... and I also think the reality is that our guys are simply not good enough to be with them."

Parore said the New Zealanders needed to take a smarter approach. He had played in teams in the late 90s and early 2000s that were inferior to many of the sides they came up against but, led by Stephen Fleming, still managed to win tests.

"Probably the best example of that was Australia 2001 - they were a vastly superior side in terms of their ability yet we still managed to dominate them at times.

"Our plans were based around how can we stay with these guys and then how can we put them under pressure?

"I hope we start to see a bit more of that thinking in and around this side, because they do have some good players, they do have good skills but there seemed to be a bit of a lack of thought evident in the performance."

The Kiwi cricketers can take some solace knowing they are in good company, however, as Australia were also knocked over by the Proteas at the same ground in 2011 for 47.

Other sporting struggles

Eric "The Eel" Moussambani:

The Equatorial Guinean had never seen an Olympic-sized swimming pool and trained for his shot at glory at the 2000 Sydney Olympics in a river. Moussambani became a folk-hero, cheered on by an adoring crowd as he spluttered to the finish in the opening heat of the 100m freestyle, finishing in 1m52.72s, way behind gold medallist Pieter van den Hoogenband's 48.30s.

Oliver McCall v Lennox Lewis:

After the "Atomic Bull" scored a shock knockdown over Lewis in 1994 at Wembley Stadium, fans were looking forward to the 1997 rematch and fight for the vacant WBC heavyweight title. They needn't have bothered. Instead of dishing out his fearsome counter punches McCall threw a wobbly and started blubbering, wandering around the ring in tears, throwing two punches in the 4th round and one in the 5th before the fight was called off.

"New Zealand has collapsed!"

The New Zealand cricket team have had a vice-like grip on a dubious first for more than 50 years, their score of 26 still the lowest in test-cricket history. Just one player in the 1955 second test against England - opener Bert Sutcliffe - scored double figures in the second innings at Eden Park, which lasted 27 overs.

- NZ Herald

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