New Zealand are on the cusp of posting their fifth win in 45 tests against South Africa at Hamilton, and squaring the series 1-all.

The Proteas are 80 for five at stumps on the fourth day of the third test in Hamilton, still burdened by a 95-run deficit with a day to play.

The weather forecast suggests rain will arrive tomorrow afternoon, but such reports have been wrong before during this contest. Rain was predicted today but the only damage was a few grey clouds among blue sky.

South Africa's lowest score against New Zealand is 148 at Johannesburg in December 1953, a test remembered more for tragedy striking Bob Blair via the loss of his fiancee in the Tangiwai disaster, and a cricket ball striking Bert Sutcliffe on his soon-to-be-bandaged skull. The pair returned to bat regardless.

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Despite the absence of spearheads Trent Boult and Tim Southee, the Black Caps bowlers were in their pomp, ploughing through the visitors' second innings with relish.

Colin de Grandhomme and Matt Henry bowled nagging lines, Neil Wagner bristled with aggression and Jeetan Patel farmed doubt with his guile. That was supplemented by a cacophony around the bat which almost needed a noise-control call out as the decibels mounted with the wickets.

De Grandhomme removed Dean Elgar caught behind at the end of the sixth over. The early line and length delivered by himself and Henry was rewarded. Elgar wafted his bat towards a ball which held its line outside off-stump.

The pivotal moment came when Theunis de Bruyn was run out from a mix-up with Hashim Amla. New Zealand's execution was more melee than military parade, but had the same effect. Captain Kane Williamson looked in two minds as to which end to throw as the batsmen conducted their impromptu waltz. He eventually shovelled the ball to B-J Watling who bunny-hopped it into the stumps.

Amla looked agitated in the aftermath as he built a partnership with Jean-Paul Duminy. New Zealand butchered two reviews with mistaken caught behinds off the latter - one apiece from Henry and Wagner - but the momentum could not be restrained.

Amla soon flashed a cut off Patel. The ball ricocheted off Watling's gloves but de Grandhomme recalibrated his eyeline to deal with the deflection.

That had the visitors floundering at 49 for three in the 21st over. Worse followed as they lost three wickets for 10 runs in 41 balls. A Patel ball held its line against Duminy who shouldered arms as it kissed off-stump. Temba Bavuma played loosely to edge Henry behind, leaving his side at 59 for five.

Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock saw them to stumps, but the position is tenuous.

Earlier, New Zealand were dismissed for 489 in reply to the Proteas' 314.

Williamson's 176 from 285 balls was the second highest score by a New Zealand batsman against South Africa, only bettered by Stephen Fleming's 262 at Cape Town in 2006. The innings was pivotal in giving the hosts the ascendancy, something difficult to predict after capitulating inside three days at Wellington. The New Zealand captain hooked Morne Morkel to Vern Philander at long leg after a tenure of 449 minutes across 98.4 overs. Winning the test always appeared at the forefront of his mind.

He received assistance from Mitchell Santner (41 from 151 balls) in an 88-run fifth-wicket stand. De Grandhomme (57 off 70 balls) contributed a late cameo with his highest test score. His innings added valuable punch, given Santner and Williamson exited prior to lunch. Santner pushed at a ball from Kagiso Rabada, who gave him some uncomfortable moments. Duminy took the catch at gully.

The first session was about bedding in for New Zealand.

There were only two boundaries in the first 65 minutes, both by Santner off Rabada.

One was a clip through square leg, the other an uncontrolled hook to fine leg. His most attacking stroke came shortly after drinks when he used his feet to loft Keshav Maharaj back over his head.

Morkel (four for 100 from 36.1 overs) and Rabada (four for 122 from 34 overs) were the pick of the bowlers, but they had to toil hard for those rewards.

‚ÄčThis is the 16th time New Zealand and South Africa have met in a series. South Africa have won 12; three have been drawn.