Dean Brownlie hit a maiden Test century for New Zealand but could not prevent a South African victory on the third day of the first Test at Newlands on Friday.
South Africa won by an innings and 27 runs as New Zealand were bowled out for 275 in their second innings. But the tourists made the South Africans toil almost until tea as they recovered some pride after a disastrous first innings of 45 all out .
Brownlie made 109 before falling to the second new ball four minutes before lunch. New Zealand lost their last six wickets for 46 runs.
Morne Morkel took the key wicket of Brownlie. There was more resistance from wicketkeeper BJ Watling and James Franklin before man of the match Vernon Philander struck twice in successive overs.
Dale Steyn took two more wickets and Chris Martin was run out without facing a ball as New Zealand's resistance finally crumbled.
Brownlie reached his century with two sixes in successive overs off left-arm spinner Robin Peterson.
The Australian-born batsman earned a congratulatory tweet from former captain Ross Taylor, who was unavailable for the tour after a controversy over his captaincy. "Great fight and well deserved mate," tweeted Taylor.
South Africa took the second new ball immediately it was due and Morkel made the breakthrough with his fifth delivery when Brownlie cut a short ball to Peterson at deep backward point.
Watling provided doughty support as he and Brownlie defied the South African bowling attack for more than two and a half hours in a partnership of 74.
Brownlie and Watling showed superb discipline as they blunted some tight, hostile bowling.
Only 63 runs were added in 30 overs before lunch but it gave New Zealand hope of avoiding an innings defeat - which seemed a distant prospect after the first morning.
Brownlie, whose previous highest Test score was 77 not out against Australia in Brisbane in 2011/12, played a contrasting innings.
His first fifty was scored off only 44 balls, during which time he was twice dropped at gully. His second half-century was far more measured. His hundred was raised off 160 balls with 13 fours and two sixes.
With his score on 92, Brownlie took advantage of a short ball from Peterson to pull it for six over midwicket. In the next over he went down the wicket and hit the spinner for a straight six to raise his hundred.
He was dismissed after batting for 272 minutes. He faced 186 balls and did not add to his boundary tally.
Watling made 42 in 211 minutes off 151 balls before he edged an outswinger from Philander to Graeme Smith at first slip, virtually sealing New Zealand's fate.
Steyn was South Africa's most successful bowler, taking three for 67.