They came up against a couple of class acts in Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis and weren't up to the job of getting rid of them.
This is South Africa's test to lose and they won't.
New Zealand must get an early breakthrough this morning and then use patience to apply pressure if they are to have any chance of saving the first test in Dunedin. But try as I might, it is difficult to see a side as good as these South Africans not winning from this position.
New Zealand have actually bowled pretty well, but they came up against a couple of class acts in Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis and weren't up to the job of getting rid of them. Sometimes that's the way it goes. Smith has a load of test centuries while the one and only Kallis was always going to score a lot of runs against us.
Considering the lineups, Ross Taylor made the right call bowling first, and he would have been happy to dismiss South Africa cheaply for 238. Unfortunately, there were a couple of soft dismissals among our top order batting, which is where the plan fell apart.
Doug Bracewell continues to impress with his wicket-taking ability. They key is he bowls a terrific length and moves the ball just enough. In contrast, Tim Southee is out of sorts because he doesn't have the necessary pace to trouble top batsmen if he can't get movement.
So New Zealand will be chasing a large target - South Africa will have 350-plus in mind.
But that also gives Taylor something to play with. If he can put doubt in South Africa's mind about achieving that, then there is an outside chance that cracks might appear.
* The magnificent batsman Rahul Dravid has retired and India will really miss him.
He has been the rock around which Sachin Tendulkar and company have been able to flourish for a couple of decades. Knowing that Dravid was secure at one end has given those other players a lot of confidence.
Dravid will go down as one of the all-time greats, especially as he scored runs around the world and not just in India. That included on tours to England and New Zealand where batting conditions are tough.